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All Things Baking, which took place Oct. 2-4 in Schaumburg, Ill., lived up to its tagline, “All the things you’ve ever wanted in a baking show.” Thousands of attendees showed up ready to take advantage of the education, hands-on demonstrations, bakery tours and latest innovations from 145 leading vendors.
The first-ever show was created to serve as the industry’s annual marketplace, meeting place and educational forum during the two-year gap in the IBIE rotation. Participants hailed from all 48 states, Washington, D.C., the Virgin Islands and 28 countries, including Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Germany, Peru, Guatemala and the UK.
“We came expecting a regional event and were shocked at how many national and international buyers we’ve seen in our booth,” says Luc Imberechts of Bakon USA, Torrance, Calif. “I think it’s the education program that’s attracted them to the show.”
The education program was indeed a strong draw for attendees. Produced by the Retail Bakers of America, Slidell, La.; AIB International, Manhattan, Kan.; Kendall College, Chicago; the RPIA Group, a Westfield, Ind., buying group of bakeries; and the French Pastry School of Kennedy-King College, the Chicago-based program that offers leading-edge instruction on everything from decorating trends to business management and marketing. Several sessions were sold out, including Determining Product Costs and Profit Margins, Pricing Strategies for Sculpted and Custom Cakes, Freezing Technology, Low Cost Promotions and Cake Sculpting with Internal Supports.
Many show floor demonstrations were also standing-room only. The 11th Annual Pillsbury Bakers’ Plus Creative Decorating Competition also adorned the show floor with masterfully decorated cakes. On Oct. 3, the top three scoring individuals were announced and awarded medals and more than $14,000 in prize money for each of the five sponsored categories. The highest overall scoring individual was named the Grand Champion and received the coveted Pillsbury Baker’s Plus Grand Champion Trophy, sponsored by General Mills, Minneapolis. The winner will also serve as floor judge for the competition at All Things Baking 2012.
Although registration was about 60% higher than RBA’s stand-alone event in 2009, exact numbers are not being released. Instead, organizers will be doing event qualitative and quantitative research to determine attendee and exhibitor return-on-objective and return-on-investment and to collect information that will help in making the show even better in 2012 and beyond.
"In light of current economic conditions, the inaugural event was highly successful-especially in terms of the quality of buyers present," says Felix Sherman, RBA president. "This is a testament to the strength and vitality of the baking industry in North America."
Next year’s All Things Baking will be held Sept. 9-11, 2012 in Houston, Texas.
For more information, go to www.allthingsbaking2011.com.