The International Baking Industry Exposition (IBIE) took place at the Las Vegas Convention Center from October 6-9 and truly reflected the “All Together Now” theme of its 2013 campaign. More than 21,000 attendees from 100 countries and from every segment of the grain-based food industry united to make important connections and get down to serious business.
Over the four days of the show, baking professionals explored half a million square feet of exhibition space, looking for the latest ingredient, equipment, technology, packaging and supply solutions from 815 exhibiting companies, a 13 percent increase over 2010, providing 19 percent more square footage for attendees to cover. Several bakers commented about the record number of innovative products on display. “IBIE has a long-standing reputation for championing innovation and showcasing the latest advancements in the industry. This year, the suppliers exceeded all expectations and launched hundreds of new products and solutions aimed at the changing needs of the modern baker,” said Mike Beaty, IBIE chairman and executive vice president of supply chain for Flowers Foods, Inc.
A common theme among exhibitors was the growing number of international baking professionals who attended the Las Vegas event. Many suppliers reiterated the value of being able to reach foreign buyers that they likely would not have been able to reach any other way. According to Mike Cornelis, IBIE committee vice chair and vice president of international sales for American Pan, “Over the past two show cycles, we’ve made a concerted effort to increase international participation through a variety of initiatives and outreach programs. We’re thrilled to report that these initiatives are paying off. Registration statistics show that nearly 26 percent of our attendance was international, with the greatest numbers of buyers traveling from Canada, Mexico, China, Japan, Australia, Russia and the UK.
Just as exciting as the business conducted between bakers and suppliers at IBIE were the educational opportunities presented by AIB International, the Retail Bakers of America, PMQ Pizza Magazine, the Bread Bakers Guild of America, the Tortilla Industry Association, the American Bakers Association and BEMA. This year, IBIE offered the most robust, comprehensive educational conference to date, with more than 75 sessions covering everything from improving retail operations to gluten-free baking to food safety and security. The increase in valuable, expert-led sessions grew IBIE’s education attendance by 67 percent over 2010. According to education task force chair and vice president of sales and marketing at Formost Fuji, Dennis Gunnell, “IBIE worked diligently to provide a comprehensive, in-depth education program that would provide the essential knowledge attendees need to improve operations, grow their businesses and stay in front of the industry’s ever-changing curve.”