Jeb Sloan is currently a member of the product development team for Clif Bar & Co., Emeryville, Calif. He’s been with the company for 12 years.

In this final installment of IBIE Point of View, Mr. Sloan shares what he’s taking away from this year’s International Baking Industry Exposition (IBIE).

Looking at IBIE 2022, what were your biggest takeaways from the show?

The industry is thriving, OEMs continue to impress with innovation, and bakers are a great group of people.  

What was the most valuable aspect of the show for you?

For the first time since COVID, this was an opportunity to reconnect with so many of our existing vendors and was also an opportunity to meet new people.  

Do you feel like you met your goals? Why or why not? 

Yes, many of our goals were tied to making up for lost time during COVID and connect with our existing vendor base to discuss training, PMs, spare parts, etc. for our R&D Innovation Center.   Other goals to explore new technologies were also met as we discovered several capabilities that we believe fit in our discovery strategy.  

What was critical to ensuring those goals were met?

We went in with clear goals, a plan of target vendors, and stayed open to seeking out new vendors and capabilities.

Based on the measures you set for yourself, was IBIE successful? Why or why not? 

Yes, my personal measures were largely based on introducing new team members to longstanding industry partners, and that was a success.

How did IBIE 2022 help you address the challenges your company is facing when it comes to product development and formulation?  

We were able to have in-person, meaningful conversations with key OEMs while simultaneously discovering new potential partners. 

What consumer trends information or product innovation caught your attention? 

Lower sugar, protein, clean label and functional ingredients seem to be where the bar category is thriving at the moment.  

How will your findings and takeaways from IBIE be influencing product development going forward?  

We will adapt our R&D Process Engineering strategy based on much of what we learned and discovered at IBIE.