MUNICH — For the first time in five years, iba, the international baking show, will be held in person after delays because of COVID-19.

Michael Wippler, president of the Zentralverband des Deutschen Bäckerhandwerks (Central Association of the German Bakery Trade) and sponsor of iba, expects this year’s trade show will be more important than ever, especially with all of the trends and challenges that are impacting the international baking industry today. The association works closely with Gesellschaft für Handwerksmessen (GHM), the organizer of the event.

In an interview with Baking & Snack magazine, Mr. Wippler, a certified master baker, also discussed the state of the global baking industry, the challenges bakers face and the must-see events at iba 2023. For more information on the show, visit

Baking & Snack: How are you feeling about the upcoming iba, especially after all of the delays from the pandemic over the last few years?

Michael Wippler: I am really looking forward to this year's iba — the cancelled fair in 2021 was extremely disappointing. After all, the bakery industry thrives on exchange, new ideas and trends, which iba does a fantastic job of exhibiting every three years. There is a lot of interest from the market to finally experience iba live again, and it's high time for personal contacts from all over the world. Together with iba, the Zentralverband des Deutschen Bäckerhandwerks has developed so many exciting events that a visit is worthwhile for both national and international guests.

What are the major trends in the global baking industry, and how have they changed over the past five years?

Mr. Wippler: At the last iba, snacks were one of the major topics covered by numerous exhibitors. Obviously, this will be important again this year, but above all, the emphasis will be on topics such as sustainability and digitalization and artisan bakery itself. Consciously appreciating artisan, high-quality products is very much on the rise again in many countries.

How has iba changed in response to these major trends?

Mr. Wippler: In order to structure the diverse interests of the visitors, we have reorganized the site map and the halls. We will have four sections: Production Technology, Raw Materials & Ingredients, Artisan Bakery and Packaging Technology. This will make it easier for visitors to find their way around, and exhibitors will reach their target group more precisely. Artisan bakery will take on a central role at iba. On the one hand, artisan bakery will have its own hall. On the other, the Zentralverband des Deutschen Bäckerhandwerks will offer special tours. The iba.ACADEMY is focusing on artisan bakery as well. Participants will learn how to make original German stollen and pretzels; there's even a diploma at the end.

How would you describe the state of the baking industry in Europe?

Mr. Wippler: The new challenges are also linked to the changed world of work. Customers are working from home more and going into the city center offices less. Generally, rising costs make people more sensitive to prices, so that some customers will go without a slice of cake at the weekend. Customers are paying more attention to quality and creativity. They appreciate bakeries that observe these criteria.

What are the most pressing issues in the European baking industry such as labor shortage, supply chain concerns and sustainability?

Mr. Wippler: You’ve hit the nail on the head there. The shortage of skilled workers is a major issue in Germany, and on top of that, there is also the excessive bureaucracy, which is especially problematic for small- and medium-sized enterprises. Ongoing inflation is also a significant subject, coupled with high energy costs. In addition, COVID-19 and the war in Ukraine have shown that supply chains are fragile. The challenges are similar around the world, and sustainability is becoming increasingly important.

How can iba help solve these issues?

Mr. Wippler: As an international meeting place, iba 2023 will address these challenges, find solutions together and also think outside the box. How do different countries deal with which situations? What are the new trends and innovations or further developments? What do others do for the next generation and how do they deal with energy resources? iba is a platform, especially on an international level, where we can learn from each other.

How is iba reaching out to attract a broader audience from across the globe?

Mr. Wippler: The whole world comes to Munich for iba. After two years of the pandemic, the anticipation among exhibitors and visitors is immensely high. We are working intensively and globally with our foreign representatives to be able to reflect the interests of international visitors at iba. In addition to versatile exhibitors, this includes an attractive framework program with exciting lectures and speakers, but also social moments such as in the Oktoberfest tent.

What innovations and advances in baking technology do you expect iba 2023 attendees will see?

Mr. Wippler: As always, exhibitors will show their innovations at iba and, as always, they will keep it a secret until the last moment, which they will then reveal themselves at iba 2023. We expect to see progress and new launches above all in the main iba topics, such as in green technologies, food trends and digitalization, among others. New this year is the iba.START UP AREA, which will be highlighting many innovations. The new themed space is an impulse generator for young, upcoming companies and will showcase the latest trends from the start-up sector. The iba.START UP AREA is also a hub for knowledge and inspiration. The pitches by the exhibiting founders, keynote speeches and presentations by renowned experts will take place on a stage. Here, forward thinkers discuss issues that are driving the trade. These range from breakthrough technologies to food trends.

How is digitalization changing the face of the baking industry?

Mr. Wippler: Digitalization opens up more efficient and effective workflows for the industry without losing sight of the actual craft. Some businesses have already invested a lot in this area, while others find it worthwhile to look outside the box at iba, which has numerous solutions for small and larger businesses.

What are some of the must-see special events at iba 2023?

Mr. Wippler: Everyone should drop by the iba.START UP AREA to be inspired by the young founders. Otherwise, we recommend visiting the UIBC Cup of Bakers and Confectioners and the German Championship on October 25. The crème de la crème of the craft will be showcasing their skills at both competitions and inspiring audiences with outstanding works of art.

What are the Top 3 reasons for attending iba this year?

Mr. Wippler: Personal exchange with old friends and inspiring colleagues, discovering new ideas, how traditional baking art goes hand in hand with digital know-how and experiencing the latest food trends.

Finally, how would you describe your experience in preparing for this year’s iba?

Mr. Wippler: For the past 1.5 years, we have worked intensively with the trade fair company GHM on an amazing new concept and met inspiring people all over the world. I expect a brilliant reunion of the national and international industry. For me personally, it will be the last iba as president of the Zentralverband des Deutschen Bäckerhandwerks, so I am looking back over eventful years and trade fairs, and iba 2023 will be a particularly emotional experience.