That thump, thump, thump of the oompah band that’s being heard throughout the industry sounds the banging of the drums for iba 2015, the triennial international baking show that will be held Sept. 12-17 in Munich, Germany. Although still five months away, show organizers — as well as exhibitors — are beginning to ramp up their preparations for the exhibition and play up the show as the march to the Messe München fairgrounds gets on its way.

For North American bakers both big and small, the exhibition — often referred to as the “World of Baking” — provides the opportunity to see the latest automation in action. In all, iba 2015 will fill up 12 trade fair halls. If the 2012 event is any prediction of what will happen on the floor at this year’s show, there will be a lot of “kicking of the tires” on new models of equipment designed to increase capacity, improve quality and streamline operations on the plant floor.

“iba 2015 continues to be the world’s largest trade fair for bakery, confectionary and snack equipment and ingredients,” said Jerry Kallman Jr., president of Kallman Associates, the Waldwick, NJ, exhibition firm that’s coordinating exhibit space for the US Pavilion.

“Once again, this year’s iba will gather the ‘who’s who’ in the baking industry from around the globe. More than 1,200 exhibitors are expected from all over the world and 70,000 business visitors from 160 countries,” he noted.

Kerwin Brown, president and CEO of BEMA, which is sponsoring the US Pavilion, expects iba 2015 to reflect the strength of the industry, attracting many of the nation’s leading wholesale and specialty bakeries to shop around for cutting-edge systems to more effectively compete in the market.

In fact, many equipment suppliers noted 2015 is shaping up to be a good year. “We’re seeing a tremendous amount of energy in the baking industry,” Mr. Brown said. “Some are calling this the best year ever or the best year in recent memory for the industry.”

Strength in numbers

Through the years, iba transformed itself from primarily a German and European trade fair for the craft and industrial baking segments to an exhibition attracting nearly every major supplier to the international wholesale baking and snack industries.

While German craft baking still remains omnipresent at the show, much of iba’s growth throughout the past decade has been spurred by major equipment and ingredient companies from outside of the European Union, according to Mr. Kallman. That’s been especially true of the greater number of sizable contingents from North America, the Middle East, Asia and Russia in recent years.

In all, 1,255 exhibitors from 58 countries participated in the 2012 show. Of those exhibiting, 41% of them were based in Germany while 59% of them spanned the globe.

To put those numbers into perspective, iba had 979 exhibitors from 49 countries in 2006 and 1,079 booths from 55 nations in 2009. The 16% increase in exhibitors in 2012 suggests that iba is expanding and even diversifying its core base among companies from countries that never exhibited nearly a decade ago, according to Munich-based GHM, which organizes iba.

Production technology and equipment still dominate the every-three-years event, accounting for 45% of exhibitors. Another 20% display ingredients and raw materials while 11% promote their packaging and logistic options. The remaining booths offer a plethora of tools for the baking and snack industries, including laboratory instruments; sanitation systems; information technology; and energy, ventilation and air-conditioning alternatives, to name a few.

Preparing for the exhibition

Many exhibitors to iba 2015 are already contacting potential customers and scheduling meetings — one key to ensuring that the show is successful, according to Mr. Kallman.

“Setting up appointments in advance of the show is crucial,” he noted. “Any type of preshow contact with potential customers is going to pay off in benefits at the show itself.”

Mr. Kallman recommended attendees check out the online catalog and organizer at The online catalog is expected to be up and running in May, with the exhibitor database updated daily.

“You should take time in June, July or August to put your game plan together,” Mr. Kallman suggested. “That way, you will maximize your time at the show and spend less time walking.”

For those looking to make travel arrangements, offers many options including information about Munich itself. “Don’t forget to buy your tickets online in advance to avoid the long lines,” Mr. Kallman said.

Baking and beyond

In many ways, iba has become more than a bakery show. From a product perspective, snacks will move to the foreground this year, reflecting how significantly consumer consumption patterns have changed in a grab-and-go world.

Additionally, this year’s show will focus on education with the iba summit, which will be held

Sept. 11, a day before the exhibition begins. The Second International Congress for the global baking industry will feature speakers who will share their insights on foodservice trends and more. Moreover, tours of local German bakeries can also be scheduled through The website encourages visitors to book early since such tours fill up well in advance.

And there will be some entertainment after the show. As they say, all work and no play makes for a really dull day. Each evening, except on the last day of the trade fair, iba will open its Oktoberfest tent featuring classic, traditional Bavarian beer, food and, of course, music.

As for one of the world’s biggest parties, Munich’s ­actual Oktoberfest begins two days after the show.