As I draft this article just a few days before the end of December, many of us are planning our travel and thinking about events to attend in the new year. For those looking to stay up to date on food and flavor trends, keep well-informed on industry challenges and strengthen their professional network, the NAFFS 2023 slate of events should be at the top of your list!
I’ve been participating in NAFFS activities since early in my career and I’m excited about where the association is and where it’s heading. My enthusiasm stems largely from the quality of the programs NAFFS offers. This publication contains articles about the speaker presentations from our most-recent meeting, the 2022 Annual Convention. These pieces will provide those unfamiliar with NAFFS offerings a snapshot into the high-quality content found at our meetings, including summaries of the presentations delivered by representatives from companies such as Monster, McCormick and ADM Wild Flavors.
NAFFS committees are already hard at work planning the 2023 Winter, California and Technical meetings, as well as the Annual Convention. I’m confident they will continue to build on NAFFS well-deserved reputation for putting on terrific events. And for those interested in becoming more involved in the industry, NAFFS committees are a great way to do that. We are always accepting new members;the work can be a lot of fun and it’s a great learning process.
The proceedings usually start with the committee chair asking committee members to offer input on current industry topics that could make for interesting components for the event’s program. We build off those initial suggestions, make some contacts and soon have the most important element of the event set – the speaker lineup. This means the makeup of NAFFS events is developed by a group of your peers, who themselves find the topics to be of interest. We have found this to be a great way to keep up to date on what’s going on in food, flavors and ingredients.
Furthermore, as we continue to emerge from the Covid pandemic, attending in-person events is more valuable now than ever before. It affords us the opportunity to restore existing relationships, create new connections and perhaps meet for the first time, people we’ve been talking with via Zoom for the past few years.
Attending meetings and serving on committees are ways to ensure your firm is fully taking advantage of its NAFFS membership and that’s the key point. Membership in NAFFS is a company membership. That means all employees at your company can receive the information NAFFS sends out, attend events at the discounted member rate and contact the association office with questions or concerns.
NAFFS also provides ways to promote its member companies, through vehicles such as advertisements in this publication and the website, sponsorship of events and mentions by NAFFS staff on members’ activities and support. The Board of Directors also continually tries to meet or anticipate the needs of its members and the industry as a whole. One recent example is the launch of the on-demand regulatory training. The first two modules - Food Grade, USA and Gluten Free Claims, USA have been well received and we’re looking forward to the launch of future modules. (Find more details at www.naffs.org.)
Lastly, it’s an honor to say that I’m the first second-generation president in NAFFS 103-year history. My father served as NAFFS president in 2009-10, with his president’s address appearing in the 2010 edition of this publication. So, there’s a family (and company) history of industry involvement, particularly within NAFFS. While it’s great my father and many of his longtime industry colleagues are still active in NAFFS, I’m happy to see many others my age and younger participating in the association as well. One of the reasons NAFFS has thrived since its creation in 1917 is that over the years, those who’ve seen the value the association provides have encouraged the next generation to carry the torch forward. It’s a continual process and it’s happening today. I encourage all in the food and flavor industry to get involved but want to make sure those newer to the community know their participation in the association is needed and valued.