With iba 2018 approaching, North American bakers attending this year’s leading trade show will notice significant changes in the European baking industry since the event was held in Germany three years ago. That’s the observation from Michael Wippler, president of the German Baker’s Confederation, which organizes iba, to be held Sept. 15-20 in Munich.

Throughout Europe, he said, countless statistics point to an ongoing concentration of the baking industry. The number of local family bakeries continues to decrease, replaced by retail chains supplied by central bakeries. Supermarkets and restaurants are also filling the gap. That’s not necessarily bad news for European industrial baking companies, which are finding additional avenues of growth for par-baked and fully baked frozen products.

“Baked goods produced on a large scale are trying more and more to match the quality of traditional bakeries,” Mr. Wippler noted.

On the flipside, Mr. Wippler sees the largest global growth coming from outside mature markets such as Europe and North America.

“Without a doubt, it is the regions that are not traditionally ‘bread countries,’” he observed.

In the Middle East, he added, Old World bread such as baguettes provide an alternative to ubiquitous flatbreads.

“A middle class is being created in these regions,” Mr. Wippler pointed out. “This means that the standard of living is improving, which, in turn, results in a change in behavior. People are increasingly consuming ‘out of home,’ and bread and baked goods are perfect for this.”