The International Baking Industry Exposition (IBIE), also known as Baking Expo, is rooted in the history of the industry. At first glance, it might seem too big, too complex and too expansive to adapt cycle after cycle to the changing market. But every three years, the show offers its attendees and exhibitors new ways to stay relevant.

“A show of this size can’t grow if it doesn’t reflect the changing needs of the industry it represents,” said Robb MacKie, president and chief executive officer of the American Bakers Association, which co-owns IBIE with BEMA and Retail Bakers of America. “IBIE, under the direction of our actively engaged volunteer committee, has remained tremendously agile.”

In 2016, IBIE was named one of Trade Show Executive’s Fastest 50 growing shows of the year. It was also named one the publication’s Gold 100 trade shows.

Almost a century since the first show in 1920, IBIE looks to take another step forward when it is held Sept. 7-11 at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas. Mr. MacKie said the show’s organizers have anticipated the needs of the industry and evolved its programming to meet contemporary demand. And the 2019 installment is already on track to exceed the 2016 records.

As of December, the exhibit hall was already 95% sold out with more than 1,000 exhibitors booked. Joe Turano, IBIE committee chair and president of Turano Baking Co., Berwyn, Ill., said many 2016 suppliers are returning with larger booths.

“One of our key initiatives was to expand the event’s offerings to truly make it a one-stop-shop for bakers,” Mr. Turano said. “Attendees can now expect to experience more ingredients, transportation, safety and sanitation, and packaging on the show floor.”

IBIEAttendees looking for the latest advances in technology will have a long list of booths to visit, and those seeking solutions to current business challenges like the workforce gap and increased sanitation standards can learn from industry experts during IBIE’s education sessions. New features, along with innovation from exhibitors, form an international can’t-miss experience.

“We like to say that we’ve developed IBIE into a place where the baking industry really wants and needs to be,” said Kerwin Brown, president and c.e.o. of BEMA.

Excelling in education

To innovate, bakers must understand what technologies and trends are shaping the market. IBIE’s educational lineup has been revamped so attendees can soak up as much knowledge as possible during the show.

For the first time, IBIE is adding a day to focus solely on education. The IBIEducate Program will begin Sept. 7 and will feature a full day of sessions prior to the show floor opening Sept. 8. The additional day will provide attendees an opportunity to learn from industry experts without missing out on time with exhibitors. The IBIE Education Task Force developed the extra day after direct attendee feedback, said Andrea Henderson, vice-president, Rondo, and the task force’s chair. Ms. Henderson said many attendees reported that they struggled to balance their schedule between education sessions and meetings with suppliers.

“By introducing this dedicated day of learning before the exhibit hall opens, we’re creating an opportunity for attendees to take full advantage of IBIEducate,” Ms. Henderson said.

This will help visitors gain a more complete experience at IBIE and return home more prepared with new ideas and strategies to improve their products, optimize production, and support business growth, she said.

The new curriculum features more than 100 seminars focused on the most relevant issues facing the industry. Sessions are organized into nine targeted tracks. On the retail side, tracks include artisan and specialty foods, retail for bakers and decorators, retail management, and retail sales and marketing. For wholesalers, tracks include wholesale formulation and product development, wholesale plant operations, wholesale process, and wholesale sales and marketing. There are also two tracks for all audience and all management attendees.

Organizations like AIB International, A.B.A., the American Society of Baking, BEMA, Bread Bakers Guild of America, Grain Foods Foundation, R.B.A. and the RPIA Group contributed to the new program.

“We encourage attendees to try sessions that aren’t in their specific wheelhouse so they can gain an understanding of how their particular role fits into the broader context of the industry,” Mr. MacKie said.

Education sessions will continue throughout the show and cover topics such as old-world artisan bread and feature programs that highlight other industry consumer trends.

To help the incoming generation still establishing their bakery careers, IBIE launched the Student Immersion Program. Those selected for the program will get behind-the-scenes access at the show, participate in meetings with select exhibitors and receive a stipend from IBIE for their travel and accommodations. They’ll also be matched with an industry mentor who will be available for ongoing career support and guidance beyond the week in Las Vegas. Students can apply on the IBIE web site.

All about artisan

IBIE will unveil two Artisan Marketplaces presented by Bread Bakers Guild of America and Puratos to give craft bakers a place to enhance their skills and improve their operations.

IBIE“These new state-of-the-art destinations will introduce show elements specifically designed to support the growth of artisan and specialty bread market segments,” said Mr. Turano.

IBIE wanted to create a space for bakers of all sizes. By doing so, the opportunity will be presented for these attendees to either scale up to larger, wholesale operations or simply perfect their processes as they are. Curated competitions, staged demonstrations from celebrity chefs and Certified Master Bakers, tastings, expert Q&A sessions, exhibitor demonstrations and much more will bring the marketplaces to life.

“The opportunities for artisan and specialty market segments are key areas of new programing for IBIE this year,” Mr. MacKie said. “We’re looking to bring in more buyers from ancillary markets to support these growing trends.”

Magnet for innovation

On the 700,000-square-foot show floor, IBIE exhibitors will highlight technologies to improve efficiency, streamline operations and boost bottom lines. It has been the place bakers look to for the latest innovations.

The No. 1 reason people attend an industry trade show is because they want to see the latest advancements in their industry. From wholesale, artisan and retail baking, to tortilla, snack food and pizza production, suppliers of all types will display solutions for every facet of production.

Bill Quigg, president of More Than a Bakery, Versailles, Ky., said this exposure to new technology is why his organization looks forward to IBIE every three years.

“For us, it’s an opportunity to go out and look for the next new system that we don’t even know exists yet that will help us stretch our capabilities even further,” he told Baking & Snack during the most recent iba show in Munich.

To spotlight the most cutting-edge advances, IBIE has once again partnered with Sosland Publishing Company to produce the IBIE Innovation Showcase, an interactive display between the North and Central Halls to feature more than 50 equipment, ingredient and service innovations never shown at a previous IBIE.

This article is an excerpt from the February 2019 issue of Baking & Snack. To read the entire feature on IBIE, click here.