MUNICH, GERMANY — After a successful showing at iba, held Sept. 15-20 in Munich, bakery suppliers now are looking toward the International Baking Industry Exposition (IBIE) to be held Sept. 7-11, 2019, in Las Vegas.
Bakers who attended iba began building checklists based on technology showcased in Munich as well as the consumer demands driving their businesses. As consumer demands change faster than at any other time in history, baking companies look to their suppliers to help them keep up.
“One thing that has made our industry successful is that we are adaptable and nimble, especially compared with other industries,” said Joe Turano, president, Turano Baking Co., Berwyn, Ill. “Most bakers — as well as equipment and ingredient suppliers — duplicate in the industry what we see in life, which sometimes has a short-term view. A lot of players are learning that agility can mean not only quicker to market but also success for years to come.”
Mr. Turano, who is also the 2019 IBIE chair, noted that bakers today want to invest in equipment that is flexible and adaptable to consumer needs.
“Product demand is global,” noted Erin Sharp, group vice-president of manufacturing, Kroger Co., Cincinnati, and 2018-19 American Bakers Association chair. “Our consumers want more than conventional pan bread. They want options and not strictly in the in-store bakery; they want choices in commercial bread that has shelf life, too.”
Ms. Sharp noted that attending international shows such as iba provides context on how to adapt global product trends toward the American consumer. Shows such as Anuga, which focuses on finished product innovations, identify some of those emerging trends. This can frame a baker’s perspective when shopping for equipment next year at IBIE.
“You’ve got to be designing lines that are more flexible and can produce more than one or two different products,” she said. “Some of the most in-demand manufacturers are those who have made their equipment the most flexible.”
One specific area includes food safety concerns and sanitary design. Equipment on display at iba provided attendees with food for thought going into 2019.
“We have been telling suppliers to have cleanability at the forefront of their design for a long time,” said Bill Quigg, president, More Than A Bakery, Versailles, Ky. “Not only do we expect it as a minimum standard, but I also think we have demonstrated that it’s worth the extra capital to do that. When we’re spending an hour less every day to clean the equipment, we’re saving that money over time.”
For Ms. Sharp, government oversight around food safety will remain a game-changer in the industry during the next few years.
“It’s changing,” she said. “The focus on food safety and sanitation is bigger in bakery than it has been in the past. F.D.A. doing environmental swabbing in bakeries is completely new; we didn’t have environmental programs in bakery until recently. It’s been prevalent for years in dairy, but in snack food and bakery plants where there was a kill step, we didn’t worry as much about it.”
While More Than a Bakery is raising the bar on food safety standards in its production facility that opened earlier this year, Mr. Quigg is blazing a trail for other bakers to follow suit.
“We may be on the leading edge, but there are a lot of bakers who are going to go that way because food safety standards are ever-increasing,” he said. “They’re not going backward.”
Ms. Sharp noted that equipment manufacturers that can demonstrate how their machines can be easily and effectively cleaned hold the key to the future.
“Existing lines have not been designed in the past with that in mind,” she said.
As a contract bakery, More Than A Bakery faces challenges for changeovers for allergens, organic, non-G.M.O. and gluten-free products.
“Any way we can invest money to make that changeover easier is a good option from our perspective,” Mr. Quigg said. “It makes us that much more flexible.”