Workforce issues along with an emphasis on product quality and driving capacity top the list of reasons for investing in mixing technology.

Additionally, spiraling operating costs represent a major headwind as bakeries seek systems that provide versatility while attaining higher production volumes.

These issues were the hot topics with bakers during last year’s International Baking Industry Exposition (IBIE). They will also be a major focus at this year’s iba trade show, which will be held Oct. 22-26 in Munich.

“Overall, bakery manufacturers are looking for solutions to optimize production costs and maintain margins,” explained Melanie Gay, marketing manager, VMI. “To do so, they want to be able to understand and better measure their operating costs and their return on investments. They are also more interested in services, upgrades or retrofits that might help them improve their production without requiring a new equipment purchase.” 

Jim Warren, vice president of Exact Mixing, Reading Bakery Systems, mentioned the quality, technical ability and cost of available skilled labor as primary concerns for the industry.

“While training, competitive salary, better benefits and working conditions are keys to navigating the workforce crisis, automation, when available, is an important part of the workforce equation,” he noted.

Bakers at IBIE also asked about rental equipment, recalled Bob Peck, vice president of engineering, E.T. Oakes.

“They want to rent equipment before they buy it, and we have a large rental program because of that,” he said.

He added the company rents slurry and continuous mixers for a short period, normally a month, to see how it performs before bakers purchase it. Most often, he said, new customers are giving the mixers a test drive, but larger bakeries can rent smaller models to run trials on new products.

This article is an excerpt from the May 2023 issue of Baking & Snack. To read the entire feature on Mixing, click here.