The nation's biggest bakery show descends on Las Vegas with a few new tricks up its sleeve.
It's unlikely that the organizers of the first International Baking Industry Exhibition (IBIE) in 1920 expected their small convention still to be around by the time the 21st century dawned. Yet 90 years later, IBIE is not merely a fixture on the national baking industry convention circuit, but has become the largest of them all.
This year, IBIE organizers expect attendance for the Sept. 26-29 event to be significantly higher than in 2007. For the first time, IBIE will host the qualifiers of the World Chocolate Masters and the Louis Lesaffre Cup, in addition to the RBA Pillsbury Bakers' Plus Grand Champion Creative Decorating Competition. Jacquelyn Clair, IBIE marketing manager, says attendees also can look forward to a wide array of educational sessions. They will include a track spearheaded by AIB International, as well as the Tortilla Industry Association's (TIA) technical seminar, making this the first time TIA and IBIE have merged their conventions.
Sustainability will be a primary theme at the show, following the still-kicking green trend in the general market. In July, IBIE announced the winners of its B.E.S.T. in Baking initiative (Becoming Environmentally Sustainable Together), which spotlights suppliers making a positive environmental impact. The 17 companies selected for B.E.S.T. honors were judged to have demonstrated a commitment to sustainability through innovative products, services, technologies and/or programs, and IBIE encourages show attendees to source from the B.E.S.T. list.
Attendees can look forward to a great deal of innovation on the expo floor. Although much has happened since the last IBIE — namely, the most serious economic meltdown since the Great Depression — Rich Hoskins, IBIE chairman and president of Colborne Foodbotics, Lake Forest, Ill., predicts the trials and travails of the past three years will have actually served as a catalyst for manufacturers.
“I expect that attendees will be impressed by the improvements in technology and new solutions that are being offered by industry suppliers,” he says. “The past few years have been tough for many, but many of these suppliers have used this period to substantially improve key products and become better positioned to provide solutions that offer cost-justified investment to our industry.”
And while attendees and exhibitors alike are sure to gain much from the nation's largest bakery expo, Clair believes IBIE's influence stretches far beyond Las Vegas and lasts longer than the four days for which the event is scheduled.
“IBIE is where our industry launches innovations aimed squarely at answering the well-publicized challenges facing the baking industry,” she explains. “It's where professionals get the training, knowledge and products to increase productivity and profitability — and stay competitive in the changing marketplace.”