For Robb MacKie, president and chief executive officer of the American Bakers Association, the global landscape for baking spans beyond consumer trends to as far as the eye can see. At iba, which runs Sept. 15-20 in Munich, dozens of A.B.A.’s member company representatives will serve as “ambassadors” for the International Baking Industry Exposition (IBIE) and the U.S. baking industry.
“Who better to tell a story of why they are going to the baking trade show than bakers themselves?” Mr. MacKie pointed out. “A lot of bakers go to iba to look at equipment from U.S. and European suppliers, and that gives them an opportunity to have conversations, particularly with European suppliers, who are coming to IBIE the following year when these bakers are ready to make a decision and a purchase.”
At iba, the A.B.A. plans to hold high-level, top-to-top meetings with its board members and their European peers.
“We’re talking about common issues, supply chain challenges and consumer trends with our various counterparts,” Mr. MacKie said. “There are areas like sustainability, packaging and robotics where Europeans may be ahead of the trends and areas where the U.S. may be ahead, so this joint learning can be enormously valuable. We would invite those whom we met with to do a follow-up at IBIE next year.”
Adapting to the changing consumer sentiment about grain-based foods varies across the globe.
“Constantly shifting consumer tastes and perspectives around our products is a mega trend that is affecting all bakers — in some regions of the world more than others,” Mr. MacKie said.