Successful Expo reveals depth of challenges facing baking

by Josh Sosland
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The success that was the 2010 International Baking Exposition was previewed two weeks ago and also is noted in an editorial comment in the Oct. 5 issue of Milling & Baking News. While accolades for the show and its organizers certainly are deserved, a number of sobering notes also merit observation. First among these were comments heard in Las Vegas from bakers themselves about the continuing difficulties in the bread market.
While improvements have been noted in recent weeks, bakers were highly unsure whether truly “the worst has passed.” Next on the list of worries were ongoing discussions about the popularity of gluten-free dieting, the subject of a special program at Expo by the Grain Foods Foundation.

In subsequent discussions, Judi Adams, G.F.F. president, acknowledged real challenges in finding the right way for the industry to counter what has become a significant fad. The industry’s brightest minds will be tested in crafting the best strategy to address this problem.

With a show as large as Baking Expo, any number of themes may be found, and that was certainly the case this year. Standing out was the broad range of ways to help bakers boost sustainability. By reducing waste and cutting use of fossil fuels and water, suppliers offered solutions. Reflecting internal mandates aimed at satisfying retailer as well as consumer demand, sustainability appears firmly entrenched in baking. Yet, the pursuit of heightened efficiency, always a central theme of Baking Expo, extended well beyond sustainability.

Ideas aimed at helping bakers take efficiency to the nth degree underscored the importance still played by cost containment for bakers looking to survive and ultimately prosper in what continues to be an intensely competitive market.

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