LAS VEGAS — When a trade show is known as “your world of opportunity,” it’s a safe bet you’re going to get a big bang for your buck. That’s the theme for this year’s International Baking Industry Exposition (IBIE), set for Oct. 8-11 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.
It’s not just the 700,000 square feet of nearly sold-out exhibit space — nor the numerous live-action demos happening on the show floor — that make opportunities so valuable. It’s also an education program that’s the biggest that IBIE, which happens every three years, has ever seen.
“We had a tremendous increase in the number of speakers who submitted proposals this year,” said Andrea Henderson, vice-president of sales, Rondo, Inc., and IBIE education task force chair. “The program is much more extensive, and we have a high level of speakers and trainers coming to the show.”
Proposals more than quadrupled over those from the 2013 show cycle.
To accommodate the number of timely session topics, the task force added a number of panel discussions covering hot topics such as clean label, trans fats and organic.
“We had so many great proposals that we didn’t want to exclude certain speakers or pick one over the other,” said Lynn Schurman, co-owner, Cold Spring Bakery, Cold Spring, Minn., education director, Retail Bakers of America, and IBIE education program coordinator.
This year’s lineup also includes more sessions pertaining to management and wholesale baking. In addition, more associations than ever before — including the American Society of Baking, the Global Cold Chain Alliance, the American Bakers Association, BEMA and the Biscuit & Cracker Manufacturers Association — are taking part through sponsorships, demos and hosted sessions.
In fact, B.&C.M.A. is boosting its presence in the IBIE education program more than it has at past shows. The association will conduct three sessions taken directly from its correspondence course.
“We’ll have some specific subjects that will focus on the art and science of the baking process,” said David Van Laar, B.&C.M.A. president. On the main show floor, the B.&C.M.A. will demonstrate troubleshooting based on formulating variations.
All sessions and panels will have time for questions and answers at the end, but if attendees have additional questions, many speakers will be available in the Idea Lab to share more in-depth information. The lab is designed to look and function similar to the Apple Store’s Genius Bar concept.
Another new concept attendees can experience is the addition of the Fresh Takes program planned to take place on the exhibit floor.
“The program is still being developed, but it’s based on the idea of TED Talks,” Ms. Schurman said.
While the Idea Lab and Fresh Takes will be located in the exhibit hall, all hands-on classes and education sessions will meet in a designated area on the second floor of the convention center for simple navigation.
“The main part of the education program will be all together and easy to find,” Ms. Schurman explained. “The classrooms will be continuous to one another, which will make it very convenient.”
Show registration also will be moved to the first hall near the steps that lead directly to the education area.
“Attendees can come right out of registration, go up the stairs and be right at the seminars,” Ms. Schurman said.
The second floor also will have a satellite registration area to accommodate those who are participating in early-morning sessions. They will simply need to sign in and head directly to the nearby classrooms.
“We will be sending out badges to people who register early, and their education session schedule will be attached with their badge,” Ms. Schurman said. “That will make it easier for people to know where they’re supposed to be and when they’re supposed to be there.”
With such an expanded offering of educational presentations, Ms. Schurman and Ms. Henderson stressed the importance of bringing a diverse staff to IBIE.
“We’ve got something for everyone,” Ms. Schurman said. “If you’ve got people in management, in production, in retail — try to bring a full team who can take advantage of all the programs … if you come by yourself, you can’t be at all the sessions.”
As with the 2013 show, most of the basic sessions will have a $10 fee. This payment guarantees the registered attendee a seat in the room. Some sessions, such as the hands-on courses and Bread Bakers Guild seminars, which are longer classes, will cost $100 to $200. The full education program agenda, as well as session costs and descriptions, are available at www.ibie2016.com/agenda.
And don’t forget that IBIE education is not limited to show attendees; exhibitors can benefit from the program, too.
“Many of the sessions take place before the show floor opens, so exhibitors can take advantage of some great education, as well,” Ms. Schurman said.