Five industry leaders will be inducted into the American Society of Baking’s (ASB) Baking Hall of Fame. August and Albert Junge, Tatsuo Oshikiri, John Popp and Harry Toufayan will be honored during BakingTech 2021, a virtual conference set for Feb. 16-18, 2021.

“For 2021, the Baking Hall of Fame committee selected leaders in regional baking, ethnic goods and specialty technology,” says Rowdy Brixey, chair of the ASB Baking Hall of Fame Evaluation Committee and president of Brixey Engineering, Inc. “We had a satisfying number of high-quality nominations honoring individuals who contributed strongly to the baking industry. It is our honor, especially in these difficult times, to again recognize such efforts.”

Brothers August and Albert Junge of Junge Baking Co., Joplin, Mo., were selected not only for their contributions to the industry but also for the role they played within their local community.

The brothers took over Junge Baking in 1900 a few years after it was founded by their father. At its peak, the company operated four large wholesale bakeries, employed 650 workers and served a four-state market. Junge Baking also introduced many innovations to the Midwest, including the high-volume manufacturing of sliced baked foods, motorized distribution and whole grain variety bread. As a major employer in Joplin, civic leaders and community benefactors, the brothers enhanced the well-being of people throughout the region, the ASB notes.

Tatsuo Oshikiri, founder of Oshikiri Machinery Ltd., Fujisawa, Japan, was chosen for his innovative work in specialty bakery technology.

As a mechanical engineer, Oshikiri patented several equipment designs throughout his career. Most notably, he was responsible for developing small horizontal mixers that used household-style low-voltage electric current, the only form of electricity available in post-World War II occupied Japan. This allowed the country’s bakers to more efficiently use wheat flour contributed by the United States to stave off widespread hunger, according to the ASB.

Oshikiri also developed high-speed horizontal mixers, overhead proofers, make-up systems and the “MICRON” microwave pasteurizer oven. In 1986, Oshikiri Machinery opened a US subsidiary, which his colleagues said was a life-long dream for Oshikiri based on the gratitude he felt to the United States for its food assistance to post-war Japan.

John Popp, president and chief executive officer, Perfection Bakeries, Inc., which operates as Aunt Millie’s Bakeries, Fort Wayne, Ind., was selected for his support of independent bakeries.

An active member of the Independent Bakers Association, Popp in 2001 worked with the organization to extend an overlooked Environmental Protection Agency order covering mixer bowl coolants. His action saved millions of dollars in potential fines and replacement costs for independent bakeries throughout the country, the ASB says. Popp is also a champion of education. He encourages staff at Aunt Millie’s to participate in continuing education opportunities and provides R&D internship opportunities to Kansas State University students. 

Rounding out the Baking Hall of Fame class of 2021 is Harry Toufayan, founder and chairman, Toufayan Bakeries, Inc., Ridgefield, NJ. His company was the first to significantly supply pita to American supermarkets starting in the 1960s, according to the ASB.

After opening a small bakery, Toufayan immediately noticed his customers’ growing interest in the pita, naan, lavash and wraps he offered. By working closely with bakery equipment suppliers, he created groundbreaking automated methods for flatbread production. The development of these technologies allowed Toufayan to open three highly automated bakeries that produce Toufayan branded products and co-packed items for other bakeries.

The 2021 inductees will be recognized during the BakingTech Hall of Fame Watch Party, scheduled for Feb. 18, 2021, at 4:05 p.m.

Since launching in 2006, the Baking Hall of Fame has recognized 92 individuals from different facets of the baking industry — from bakeries, allied equipment and ingredient suppliers, schools, service organizations, and publishers.