MUNICH, GERMANY — The first glance of a calendar might seem as though the 2016 International Baking Industry Exposition (I.B.I.E.) is a long way off. But not necessarily, said Robb MacKie, president and chief executive officer of the American Bakers Association (A.B.A.).
In fact, I.B.I.E. is ramping up for its event, to be held Oct. 8-11, 2016, in Las Vegas, and the iba show, whose doors opened Sept. 12 in Munich, is a huge step.
Two of the biggest international baking shows, iba and I.B.I.E. have developed synergies that help bring together baking industries from across the globe.
|Robb MacKie, president and c.e.o. of A.B.A.|
“While we don’t have a formal partnership, there is a lot of collaboration that goes on behind the scenes,” Mr. MacKie said. “I would say the relationship is as strong as it’s ever been.”
While the I.B.I.E. planning committee — of which A.B.A. is a founding association along with BEMA — has been hard at work since the end of the 2013 show, iba represents the unofficial kickoff of procuring international exhibitors and attendees.
“A company doesn’t just decide at the last minute to go to Las Vegas with a piece of equipment, or even attend the show,” Mr. MacKie explained. “There has to be some lead time, and year two is when we start working those international relations.”
The I.B.I.E. planning committee has identified countries that have stood out in terms of product and technology innovation and who would benefit from a presence at I.B.I.E., and Mr. MacKie indicated that A.B.A. will be reaching out to those countries’ delegations while attending the iba show this week. Some of those countries include Argentina, South Africa, Brazil and China.
In addition to developing international relations, iba is a chance to see what equipment and ingredient innovations are coming out of Europe and what will be of interest to bakers a year from now.
“It’s an opportunity for us to get an early look at what some of the new equipment might be and what’s coming on-line or in development,” Mr. MacKie said. “We want to promote the latest and greatest innovations that are coming in our industry, and iba gives us that sneak peek in terms of what to expect at I.B.I.E.”
It’s also an opportunity for bakers and suppliers to gauge what some of the next big issues that U.S. bakers might face in the not-so-distant future. Mr. MacKie recalled two show cycles ago, he saw a number of European equipment manufacturers displaying some cutting edge innovation in regard to energy savings.
“I can remember coming back from iba and meeting with BEMA folks saying, ‘The U.S. bakers were really impressed with how the European equipment manufacturers are reducing the energy footprint on this equipment. That might be something we need to look at,’ ” Mr. MacKie said.
Not long after, the U.S. industry ran into significant energy price spikes.
“Some of those early innovations we saw that year led to a focus on energy savings in areas such as our Innovation Showcase and Best in Baking and, ultimately, to the A.B.A. Energy Star challenge,” he said.
In addition to technology and innovation, iba serves as an early indicator for the level of excitement leading up to I.B.I.E. Considering the buzz already happening around the 2016 show, Mr. MacKie expects to see parallel excitement at iba — and to capitalize on it.
“I’m picking up a sense of excitement from both the U.S. representatives that are here at the iba show and also from some of the international delegations that we’re meeting with,” Mr. MacKie said. “Now that we are on the ground in Germany and able to meet face-to-face with people we don’t get to see every day, our strong appointment schedule will give a good indication of what we can expect at I.B.I.E.”