With baking industry people beginning to gather in Las Vegas for the 2010 International Baking Industry Exposition, hopes for this year’s show, to be held Sept. 26-29, are running high. Early indicators suggest that the hopes are fully justified.

Pre-registration figures last week pointed to a double-digit percentage increase in attendance from the 2007 show. Additionally, representatives of the show expressed confidence that on-site registration would be up sharply from 2007. All told, the increases would translate into thousands of additional bakers strolling through the exhibits, attending displays and participating in programs.

The industry has invested heavily in making Baking Expo a success this year, embracing meaningful and fundamental change. The triennial gathering is a crucial one for equipment suppliers and other allied companies, as well as the industry’s trade associations — The American Bakers Association, BEMA, the Retail Bakers of America and the Tortilla Industry Association.

Against a broader backdrop of a weak overall U.S. economy, the past year has been a difficult one for the baking industry. It is to be hoped that the 2010 Baking Expo will provide a real boost for an important industry in need of such a shot in the arm.