Baking Expo 2013 gets under way

by Dan Malovany
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LAS VEGAS — After years of preparation, months of anticipation, weeks of building expectations and a mad rush to the finish during the final days on the unseasonably cool convention floor, a bigger and better 2013 International Baking Industry Exposition (I.B.I.E.) opened its doors to an anticipated 20,000 industry professionals from all parts of the globe.

Pre-registration is tracking more than 10% ahead of the 2010 show and is attracting a wider swath of baking industry professionals ranging from commercial wholesalers and artisan bakers to retail bakers, pastry chefs and supermarket in-store bakers. Officials in the registration area reported a fast and furious last-minute rush in sign-ups as the show neared.

With more than 850,000 square feet of exhibit space, I.B.I.E. 2013 exhibit sales are nearly 20% greater than three years ago. Of the 818 exhibitors, 276 of them are new to this year’s show.

“We really challenged the exhibitors to bring their newest and boldest innovations to I.B.I.E., and they have really taken the challenge to heart,” noted Robb MacKie, president and chief executive officer of the American Bakers Association, co-sponsor of I.B.I.E. with BEMA and the Retail Bakers of America.

The journey to bring everyone “All Together Now,” he added, began under difficult circumstances, but he expected the planning committee’s efforts to pay off.

“The I.B.I.E. Committee gathered three years ago in the middle of a raging blizzard in Chicago to review I.B.I.E. 2010 and beginning to plan I.B.I.E. 2013,” Mr. MacKie said. “Attendees will be able to experience the results of those discussions and the efforts of an incredibly talented and dedicated team.”

Perhaps even more importantly, this year’s I.B.I.E. expects a larger international contingent than in the past. In addition to a strong Latin American contingent, preliminary information indicates significant delegations from China, Russia, Japan and Australia, to name a few. In all, more than 95 countries will be represented at I.B.I.E. 2013.

“We made big push internationally since the last show,” said Kerwin Brown, president and c.e.o. of BEMA. “We made a much bigger push than we did for 2010. We met with associations from different countries. We met with media outlets. For three years, we have been networking with groups across the globe to build awareness of I.B.I.E. and put it on everyone’s radar. Our hard work will hopefully pay off this year.”

This year’s attendees will find not only a much larger exhibition but also a much different exhibition than the past. Attendees looking for the latest industry advances in technology don’t have to go far from the registration area. The new I.B.I.E. Innovation Showcase, located in the Las Vegas Convention Center foyer, is a walk-through gallery of posters that highlight the cutting-edge technology developed by exhibitors during the past three years.

The I.B.I.E. Committee also made Baking Expo more interactive with events that entertain as well as educate and show off what the industry does best.

“We created the Buzz Committee,” Mr. Brown noted. “The committee’s job was to figure out, ‘How do we add excitement and life and theater on the show floor.’ The committee’s members did this by focusing on products.”

As a result, pie, pizza and raisin bread are getting in on the action. New to I.B.I.E., the Great American Pie Festival invites attendees to feast their eyes — and their appetites — on “A Never Ending Pie Buffet.” Cosponsored by The American Pie Council and I.B.I.E., the festival allows visitors to sample an impressive array of ready-made pies and take in live entertainment, merchandise, complimentary refreshments and free prizes.

To balance the sweet, I.B.I.E. adds the savory in the form of the PMQ Pizza Village. This town-hall-style pizza pavilion, created specifically for I.B.I.E. 2013, connects pizza manufacturers and bakers through demonstrations, exhibits, networking opportunities and educational seminars. Village visitors may enjoy both a freestyle pizza acrobatics competition, courtesy of “Pizzathletes” from the U.S. Pizza Team, and the American Pizza Championships cooking contest.

Joining The Great American Pie Festival and the PMQ Pizza Village on their inaugural I.B.I.E. run is the America’s Best Raisin Bread Contest, hosted by the California Raisin Marketing Board. Over the course of the three-day show, 36 contestants will bake their raisin pièces de résistance in front of a panel of judges. Three winners from three categories — Artisan, Commercial and Breakfast — will emerge victorious. Judges also will select one student winner in each category. On I.B.I.E.’s final day, the raisin board will host demonstrations by previous international winners of their prize raisin bread creations.

Additionally, I.B.I.E. features an amplified, dual-stage demonstration program that conjoins information and entertainment in the aisles. Headlining at the Amoretti Demo Theater is Cake Boss Buddy Valastro, who will lead two sessions on cake decorating.

Moreover, I.B.I.E.’s education program is also bigger and better than ever and boasts the addition of several new seminars and speakers. Hot topic sessions include presentations on the Food Safety Modernization Act, the Global Food Safety Initiative, managing rising commodity prices and formulating with ancient grains. Other seminars will focus on issues that continue to affect bakers, including sodium reduction and the gluten-free trend.

Top executives from The Bama Companies, Bimbo Bakeries USA (B.B.U.), Dawn Food Products and McKee Foods Corp. will participate in the American Bakers Association’s “Executive Leadership Development Committee (ELDC) Baking Industry Leadership Forum,” to be held Oct. 8 from 5 to 6:45 p.m. in the North Hall, Room 246/250, of the Las Vegas Convention Center.

The executives include Paula Marshall, Bama’s c.e.o.; Fred Penny, B.B.U.’s president; Miles Jones, Dawn’s co-chairman; and Mike McKee, McKee Foods’ president and c.e.o. The panel will share their knowledge about the industry, current trends and leadership skills needed to successfully navigate their companies in these challenging times. Tickets for the event may be purchased at A.B.A.’s booth located in the Grand Concourse Lobby or at the doors of the event.

“More than 200 tickets have been sold for A.B.A.’s Executive Leadership Development Committee (E.L.D.C.) Industry Leaders Forum to be held Tuesday evening during I.B.I.E.,” said Kelly Knowles, senior political director for the A.B.A. “We have assembled an all-star line-up of panelists. Folks do not want to miss this important and exciting event.”

Navigating the show floor, scheduling supplier appointments, making dinner reservations and preparing client entertainment outings will be quick and easy with the I.B.I.E. mobile app. Sponsored by DuPont Nutrition & Health (Booth No. 5821), the mobile app is available for iPhone, Android and Blackberry 10 devices as well as via the Internet for all other mobile gadgets. Innovation Showcase entries, the education program schedule, dinner and entertainment options, and demo times and locations are just a tap away. Everything can be saved to the app’s “My Event” section for easy recall.
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