KANSAS CITY — In 2010, IBIE significantly increased its international recruitment after a post-show survey revealed how important the group is to suppliers. In 2016, those efforts were realized as buyers from more than 100 countries made up 30% of the total attendee audience. During the past three years, IBIE representatives have stepped up their efforts to take international interest to an even higher level.
“IBIE has an aggressive multi-channel campaign and has increased presence at key events around the world,” said Robb MacKie, president and chief executive officer of the American Bakers Association, which co-owns IBIE with BEMA and Retail Bakers of America. “Representatives attended food shows like iba in Germany, FHA in Singapore, MOBAC in Japan, Mexipan in Mexico and FIPAN in Brazil. By being involved with, literally, the world of baking, we have seen increased interest not only in attending this show but also in IBIE becoming a resource for the international baking industry.”
This year, under the leadership of Joe Turano, IBIE committee chair and president of Turano Baking Co., and A.B.A. chair Erin Sharp, group vice-president, manufacturing, The Kroger Co., the A.B.A. had the largest contingent of association members engaged at iba, held in Munich last year. A.B.A.’s participation at Europe’s largest baking show included more than 22 international delegation meetings and a joint board meeting with A.B.A.’s European counterpart, the International Association of Plant Bakeries.
“The A.B.A. board really embraced the need to present a united, welcoming front for potential international visitors to IBIE,” Mr. MacKie said.
Michael Cornelis, chair of the IBIE International Task Force, and vice-president of American Pan, a Bundy Baking Solution, said international guests are a critical component of what makes the IBIE experience so valuable. And iba presented a welcome opportunity to connect with them.
“With iba held one year in advance of IBIE, it’s a great opportunity to touch base with international partners,” Mr. Cornelis said. “Their participation has transformed IBIE into the global platform it is today, fostering the cross pollination of ideas and collaboration with the formation of new business relationships.”
This year, IBIE is providing increased dedicated international support before the show and onsite.
“We know our international guests travel a long way and make a big investment, so we want to ensure their planning and participation in IBIE is as easy as possible,” Mr. Cornelis said.
International support staff will be available to answer questions about discounts, show floor navigation, the educational program, accommodations and registration or Visa inquiries. There will be additional onsite support in the International Lounge to make meetings and informal networking easy with amenities like Wi-Fi, refreshments and translators to overcome language barriers. There is also a dedicated international page on www.ibie2019.com.
Kerwin Brown, president and c.e.o. of BEMA, IBIE’s continuous international outreach makes a difference each cycle because bakers make purchasing decisions over a cycle of time, not always within one year.
“They might look at a solution at iba and then buy it at IBIE,” he said. “There’s a continual evolution of what the bakers need in innovations and solutions, and we see it as a beneficial partnership.”