Bakers Journal

On the front lines: 2001-08

March 11, 2010
By Jane Ayer

A former editor reflects on trends and events from the aughts that dramatically changed the baking industry

Jane Ayer pictured with her fellow judges at a decorative bread competition in 2008. From left: Peter Scholtes, Herb Naimer, Flemming Mathiasen, Ayer, Heinz Hubbert and Marian Markowski.

A former editor reflects on trends and events from the aughts that dramatically changed the baking industry.

When I began my tenure as editor of Bakers Journal in October 2001, the images of the Sept. 11 attacks were still playing daily on TV screens. They were jarring, unreal images that challenged everything we thought we knew. BJ’s national sales manager at the time, Sandy Mels, was at IBIE in Las Vegas when the World Trade Center towers crumbled to the ground and she was among the thousands attending the show who just wanted to get home to their families – I know many of you were at that same show and felt the same way.

I think in many ways, that early September day in 2001 had a big impact on the stories I covered during my time with Bakers Journal (I left the magazine in August 2008). I know that’s why comfort food was suddenly such a big trend: the world was instantly a much scarier place, and food that reminds us of good times fills our bellies, warms our souls – and just plain makes us feel better. And surely that’s also a large part of the reason food safety and security became such a reoccurring theme in the industry and subsequently in the pages of Bakers Journal.


We encountered our own food security issue in 2004 when we glued tiny sample packages of glaze to a Mimac ad – and then had shipments of our magazine stopped at the U.S. border because of the unknown substance contained within. Who knew doughnut glaze could be a matter for national security?

Flipping through back issues of the magazine from my time with Bakers Journal, it’s impressive to see how far the industry has come in such a short time. In one issue from late 2001, an article questions the quality of frozen dough. Well, no more. Many bakeries are proving that frozen dough can still result in artisan-quality bread. Acrylamide reared its head during my time with the magazine, the low-carb fad peaked, Krispy Kreme came to Canada (and has since mostly turned around and left), Starbucks introduced a new concept (the “Starbucks Card,” and retailers everywhere quickly followed suit), nutritional labelling became law, Voortmans became the first to remove trans fats from its product line, organics went mainstream, the industry produced two Team Canadas to put our nation on the baking and pastry world map . . . and so very much more.

The industry has grown and evolved in so many ways, and I’m proud and grateful to have been part of the team who has worked for 70 years to bring you those stories of growth and evolution. They’re your stories. They always have been.

And I think that’s the key to Bakers Journal’s longevity.

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