The Conference of the Irish Association of Master Bakers 12th-13th October 2018

The Mistress and I represented the Worshipful Company of Bakers at the Conference of the Irish Association of Master Bakers (“IAMB”). The IAMB was founded in 1909 and brings together bakers from all over the island of Ireland. It is the representative face of the Northern Irish Bakery Council, the Irish Bread Bakers Association and the Flour Confectioners and Bakers Association. The Irish Bakers Benevolent Society straddles and is supported by all three Associations.
So, it was a fascinating insight into the way in which the industry operates in Ireland and into the problems which exist. It was also heartening for me to meet socially so many Irish bakers who are Liverymen of our Company and put faces to names. I also renewed friendships with Ronnie Miles, the President of the Scottish Bakers, and Colin Lomax, the President of the Craft Bakers Association.
It was, however, not all bread and circuses!
On Saturday morning there were reports from all three Associations and the Benevolent Society as well as talks about using computer software in bakeries and bread promotional campaigns in Europe. Alex Waugh of NABIM gave a very informative and informed talk about the grain markets and Brexit. 
Martin Lundell of the Association of Swedish Bakers and Confectioners gave a riveting talk entitled “Promoting bread the Swedish Way”. He started from the proposition that it is a perception amongst many in the public that bread is fattening and bad for you. The Swedish Association produced a film to try and scotch that notion. The film involved people, especially schoolchildren, eating insects. This imperfect description of a very successful campaign can best be summarised as reverse psychology. And it seems to have worked!
We then witnessed the installation of a new President and Vice President of the IAMB. That happens every two years. It was a touching moment to see the outgoing President, Eugene Baker, hand over the chain of office to the incoming President, Gerald Cunningham.
That left some time for relaxation and, as you might imagine, just a bit of hospitality, Irish style!
It was a privilege to be ambassadors for the Worshipful Company of Bakers. Such links with Bakers’ Associations abroad will become ever more important whatever the outcome of the Brexit negotiations. 
Stephen Kramer

Left to right: Ronnie Miles, The Master, Gerald Cunningham, Colin Lomax and Eugene Baker