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If the turnout for the 2013 International Baking Industry Exposition (IBIE), which took place Oct. 6 thru 9 at Las Vegas is any indication of the industry’s temperature, then it’s clear that baking business is hot, hot, hot.

With increased numbers across the board, from exhibitors to floor space to overall attendance, the show was a success in every right. Let’s take a look at some of the highlights and top trends.

You didn’t have to go far to see the latest cutting-edge technology from the past three years. The Innovation Showcase display highlighted 48 of the top new developments featured up front and center at IBIE.

Still top of mind for bakers and exhibitors was the move toward increased sanitation and food safety. On the heels of the Food Safety Modernization Act and ANSI Z-50.2, most of the equipment for this year’s show was revamped for sanitary design.

Suppliers eliminated many of the unnecessary “cosmetics” and made the equipment more functional and accessible for cleaning; and new wash-down capabilities of the processing equipment rival designs used in the meat industry.

Automation and robotics also were hot topics to address labor efficiency.

Trending on the IBIE show floor included increased use of monitoring and control systems throughout processing areas, while new software programs provided easier and more flexible methods to managing material handling and warehouse/distribution areas.

Nearly every corner of Baking Expo revealed innovations derived from outside our industry. Did you notice the similarities to automotive, consumer products and even NASA technologies?

Packaging advances included bakeable packaging materials that allow frozen dough to be proofed in half the time, or pizza baked in enclosed packaging, for moisture retention in gluten free products and avoiding cross contamination.

Product demonstrations and competition were in full force on the show floor and allowed attendees to get up close and personal with baking systems and celebrities like no other time before.

Whether through meetings in exhibitor booths, attendance at demonstrations or participation in education sessions, attendees spoke loud and clear: This industry is fired up!