Hello NAFFS family and welcome new friends. I sincerely hope everyone remains safe and as sane as possible.Going into 2020, I thought I would have a tough act to follow in my predecessor, Lee Beuk. Little did I know the mountain we would all have to climb and the adversity facing us, as a people, on a global scale.
It goes without saying that any industry specific issues facing our membership pale in comparison to the multitude of problems we now all face. A global pandemic, domestic political unrest, mutual foreign distrust, an uncertain economy and a general feeling of negativism are pervasive in our everyday lives and threatens our personal and professional well-being. We, as an industry, have been quite fortunate to not face the same adversity as other sectors of our economy and have come through 2020, in many ways, stronger than before.
I would like to think that NAFFS, as an organization, was a model of how to persevere through the difficulties of last year. Decisions were made quickly and our board of directors was able to act nimbly and adapt policies, meetings and conferences to continue our ambitious agenda in order to move forward. This was only made possible with the assistance and support of our outstanding member companies, who, as they have done for the last century, continued to make NAFFS the premier flavor association in the country.
We were faced with the same two options repeatedly with regard to our meetings and conference: go virtual or cancel altogether. These were always complex debates but in every instance, the plan ended up being to offer the most we could to as many as we could as inexpensively as we could. Surely, we were all disappointed that our annual convention trip to Florida’s Gulf Coast was cancelled. However, in moving ahead virtually, we were still able to offer three days of excellent speakers and sessions and had nothing but positive feedback from the members who “attended”. This publication includes articles about the convention’s presentations. The articles will provide those unfamiliar with NAFFS’ offerings a snapshot into the high quality of the content at our meetings.
We also didn’t miss a beat with the NAFFS Scholarship Program, continuing to raise money and increase the number of recipient schools offering disciplines in flavor and food science. This continuing effort and “jewel” in the NAFFS crown grows impressively year after year as we strive to offer scholarships to as many students as possible across the country. This was especially important last year as economic and civil uncertainty made it essential that we refocus our efforts with this program. A special thanks to the sponsor companies and group of tireless volunteers working to continuously expand and improve this program.
Going hand in hand with the Scholarship Program is the push by NAFFS to introduce and expand on educational programs and platforms. Safety, regulation, technology and consumer edification are dynamic topics that require constant attention and updating. Being proactive in recognizing, developing and passing this information on is vital for our membership and is achieved through the programs, literature and speakers NAFFS continuously offers. These include sessions run by national and globally recognized experts in their respective fields. The latest example is the on-demand regulatory training launched in 2020. 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.
As always, the extraordinary membership of NAFFS is instrumental to our continued success. If you would like your company to become a member, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. As our goal is to educate, inform and unite our membership as a non-profit, our dues remain the lowest in the industry and our once-yearly company fee entitles all company employees to membership. Not only do we encourage you to join, we encourage you to speak up and offer ideas, advice, criticisms; whatever you feel would better enable NAFFS to help us to grow and improve as we move forward.
While I certainly can’t predict the future, I can certainly wish that 2021 offers us more. More people with hope. More thriving businesses. More working toward a common goal. More of what we are all supposed to strive for.