LAS VEGAS — Crowds pouring into today’s much-awaited, sold-out 2016 International Baking Industry Exposition (IBIE) will see a record number of exhibitors and experience an unprecedented selection of education sessions and interactive events.
In fact, this year’s IBIE is so jam-packed with new program additions that even those cagey industry veterans who have attended several previous expositions may find themselves wondering how much they can do over the next four days at the Las Vegas Convention Center.
After years of reflection and months of tireless preparation, IBIE Committee members tried to pull out all of the stops for 2016’s new and improved show. As exhibitors nailed down their booths, revved up their equipment and scrambled to put on the final touches during the past week, show organizers are now seeing all of their hard work come to fruition, according to Joseph Turano, IBIE vice-chair and president of Turano Baking Co., Berwyn, Ill.
“This has been a very exciting year for us. We sold out the show for the first time in our history — with more than 1,000 exhibitors,” Mr. Turano observed. “We have the largest and most comprehensive education program to-date, more show features than ever before, and we've been tracking ahead by double-digits in attendees, so we’re expecting this to be a record-breaking show on all accounts.”
As of noon yesterday, attendance for IBIE 2016 is tracking 14% ahead of IBIE 2013, which attracted more than 20,000 attendees and was then considered by many industry observers one of the most successful shows in recent history. During the past three years, IBIE Committee members made a concentrated effort to accommodate those exhibitors looking to expand overseas and attendees searching to see the industry from a global perspective, said Jorge Zárate, IBIE international task force chair and global operation and engineering senior vice-president for Grupo Bimbo, Mexico City.
“Our marketing efforts, coupled with the collaboration with the Department of Commerce’s International Buyer Program, have really paid off,” Mr. Zarate said. “We have attendees hailing from more than 100 countries as well as several large delegations from China, Japan, Mexico and Brazil, among others.”
Overall, show organizers ratcheted up IBIE 2016 to create a celebration of innovation upon a bedrock of education. In the concourse of the convention hall, visitors can browse through 56 entries in this year’s Innovation Showcase, up from 49 in 2013. The education program has grown from a handful of offerings at IBIE 2007 to more than 90 seminars today. “Our programming is diverse, cutting edge and applicable to all segments of the industry,” said Andrea Henderson, IBIE education task chair and vice-president of Rondo. “Our mission is to equip the industry with the knowledge to do their jobs better, elevate their businesses and ultimately advance the industry as a whole.”
The penultimate goal of this year’s 700,000-square-foot exhibition — which was expanded to accommodate demand from exhibitors — is not simply to be bigger and better, according to Michael Cornelis, IBIE chair and vice-president of American Pan, a Bundy Baking Solution. Rather, he added, the focus has been to make this event the best in every facet imaginable.
“We have 340 new exhibitors this year who have never participated in our show before,” Mr. Cornelis said. “This, coupled with that fact that we’ve grown our exhibit floor by more than 25%, is a testament to the value and impact of IBIE. Baking industry manufacturers and suppliers know what IBIE can do for their sales and profits.”
With so many new exhibitors and events, navigating this year’s exposition will require a little help, which is why the IBIE Committee worked on enhancing the user-friendly IBIE mobile app and IBIE Connect, a service provided to facilitate pre-show marketing and networking between exhibitors and registered attendees.“It’s been three years in the making, and we’re excited to unveil what’s new,” noted Fred Springer, IBIE technology task chair and president of Burford Corp. “We’ve added so much value to the attendee experience through features like the IBIE IDEA Lab, which highlights innovation, the Global Cold Chain Alliance Pavilion, Bakers’ Dozen Cafe, Fresh Take Talks, and the All-American Tailgate Party tonight. Show participants will see something new, useful and inspirational at every corner of the convention center.