Wow! What a great show! What’s more, the buzz about the 2010 International Baking Industry Exposition (IBIE) started early, way before its estimated 20,000 attendees arrived at Las Vegas, NV, for the Sept. 26-29 event.

First of all, IBIE was big. It assembled 713 exhibitor booths, an increase of 85 compared with the previous show in 2007. It filled a half-million sq ft of exhibit space in the North and Central halls of the large convention center.

Second, Baking Expo attracted a lot of people. Preshow attendance estimates of 15,000 to 17,000 grew to a final tally of close to 20,000. And IBIE brought in the highest international attendance ever. More than 22% of attendees and 10% of exhibitors traveled to IBIE from outside the US. “These are strong numbers,” said Chuck Wellard, IBIE Committee secretary and treasurer. He described the “tremendous response” received through the event’s selection by the US Commerce Department’s International Buyer Program, which hosted delegations of bakers and allied tradesman from Brazil, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Honduras, Indonesia, Mexico, Nicaragua, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Thailand and Ukraine. Non-hosted groups came from Colombia, Jordan, Kenya and Taiwan.

Several large baking companies brought staff teams exceeding 20 people each. “We have close to 45 upper and middle management from corporate as well as regional managers here,” said Mike Beaty, executive vice-president of supply chain for Flowers Foods, Thomasville, GA, and vice-chairman of the 2010 IBIE Committee. Grupo Bimbo and Hostess Brands also fielded large contingents.

Longtime show sponsors, the American Bakers Association and BEMA, welcomed the Retail Bakers of America (RBA) as a new partner for the event, organized under the theme “Where the Industry Unites.” Another partner group, the Tortilla Industry Association (TIA), co-located its technical conference at the Las Vegas Convention Center just prior to IBIE and provided a free pass to the show for all registrants. Groups such as The Long Co., AIB International, the American Society of Baking (ASB) and the Independent Bakers Association also took advantage of IBIE to meet with their boards and members. ASB signed an agreement to create an international chapter for the Middle East and Africa.

A broad-based educational program supported attendance from the baking industry’s many sectors with presentations given in the mornings, often in jam-packed meeting rooms. The wide selection of topics was a direct request of the show’s management committee. “We set up a task force right after IBIE 2007 and knew we had to offer a higher level this year,” said Rich Hoskins, president of Colborne Foodbotics and the IBIE 2010 Committee chairman. “With our partnerships, we were able to succeed in presenting a comprehensive program but made sure it did not interfere with the core objective of Expo, which is the exhibition.”

The subject of gluten-free products was among the most thought-provoking sessions. Shelley Case, a registered dietitian and author of “Gluten-Free Diet: A Comprehensive Resource Guide,” spoke at a panel discussion sponsored by the Grain Foods Foundation. Many gluten-free products are made with white rice flour, tapioca, corn and potato starch, she stated. When compared with enriched white flour and whole-wheat flour, these alternatives may be lacking in protein, fiber, iron, calcium and other vitamins and minerals. Other speakers raised matters involving the perception and reality of carbohydrates in foods, proper portion control and subsidized school lunch programs.

TIA sessions focused on “constant improvement” and brought together discussion of HACCP, turning waste into profits, quality control and lean manufacturing on the first day. Second day topics covered processing and industry matters. Co-location with IBIE proved a success with attendance increasing to more than 220 people, the largest number since TIA restarted the event three years ago, according to Jim Kabbani, the association’s executive director.

Adding to the excitement, three major skills contests took place at Expo, with stages set right on the show floor.

The 10th annual Pillsbury Baker’s Plus Grand Champion creative decorating competition involved two separate phases, the first to prepare one sculpted cake and one fondant-covered cake and the second to create a wedding cake. The California Raisin Marketing Board sponsored the awards ceremony for the Pillsbury contest where RBA announced the winners.

Sylvain Bortolini, assistant executive pastry chef at the Bellagio Las Vegas, earned top prize as the National Chocolate Master during the World Chocolate Masters US national competition at IBIE. Following completion next spring of all national selections throughout the world, Chef Bortolini and 17 other chefs will advance to the World Chocolate Masters finals set for Oct. 17-20, 2011, at Paris, France.

In the biggest celebration of the show, the Peruvian team won for the South American region in the 3-day Louis Lesaffre Cup competition held at IBIE. The USA team topped its region, North and Central America. The two teams are headed to the finals at Europain taking place March 3-7, 2012, in Paris. Teams from Costa Rica and Brazil qualified as a possible “challenger team,” but official selection will be announced in June 2011.

TLC brought in a TV crew of host and cameramen to capture these events live for future viewing on the cable network.

Readers can take a look at IBIE on a day-to-day basis by viewing the three IBIE Show Daily issues posted


The lighthearted mantra of Las Vegas, “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas,” proved true for the International Baking Industry Exposition. During the 2010 show, the management committee announced that the next IBIE will be held at the Las Vegas Convention Center on Oct. 6-9, 2013.