Sustainability messaging arises in myriad ways across today’s snack food and bakery industry. With the help of an ever-evolving equipment and technology supply chain, snack producers and bakery companies continue to make strides in lean manufacturing, including energy and resource management. The net result is overall more-efficient operations.

Those efforts carry value, and often make their way into marketing messages and corporate environmental, social, and governance (ESG) reporting. Sustainability can take the spotlight when it comes to product storytelling, such as an on-pack messaging outlining efforts made at the ingredient level, sending some love to a brand’s supporting farmers and associated environmental efforts on the farm.

Packaging is also a prime opportunity to showcase a company’s sustainability efforts. Legislative action like extended producer responsibility (EPR) continues to roll out across the global consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry, catalyzing packaging changes to work toward developing a truly circular economy for product packaging. As brand owners make investments in sustainable packaging, you can bet that they will communicate those efforts to the public. It’s a point of differentiation, and it’s the future of the industry.

This time next year, the 2025 International Baking Industry Exposition (IBIE) show will be almost upon us, and sustainability will factor into the event in a big way. For Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery, IBIE has long been an opportunity to shine a clear light on sustainability innovations through our sponsorship of the IBIE BEST in Baking Program and Awards. We were the first sponsors of this show feature back in 2010 when IBIE introduced it, and we have maintained that connection through each ensuing IBIE show cycle.

The IBIE organizers recently named SF&WB sponsors of BEST in Baking for yet another IBIE show cycle, and we are excited to provide an update to the industry on the latest sustainability developments across equipment and ingredients, as well as advancements in operational sustainability, including workforce development, automation, robotics, and overall plant efficiency. For the 2025 IBIE BEST in Baking Awards, we will shine a particularly bright spotlight on advancements related to sustainable product packaging, one of the biggest issues across the food industry today.

Over the past 15 years, we have continued to refine and grow our BEST in Baking vision. For the 2025 IBIE, the BEST in Baking Program will include award categories for suppliers, as well as producers (snack and bakery companies):

Supplier categories

  • Automation/Robotics
  • Processing Equipment
  • Ingredients
  • Sanitation Equipment & Technology

Producer categories

  • Plant Efficiency
  • Workforce Development
  • Product Packaging Innovation (three tiers of awards)
    • Wholesale Bakery, High-Volume
    • Wholesale Bakery, Intermediate
    • Retail Bakery

Qualifying submissions will demonstrate recent innovations advancing sustainability, and each category will feature one “Top Honors” award recipient, representing “best in class” sustainability achievements.

For the Product Packaging Innovation Awards, we will expand our 2025 IBIE BEST in Baking Program coverage and support to include our sister publication, Packaging Strategies, a longstanding media brand with a purely packaging focus. Watch in the coming weeks and months to learn more about BEST in Baking.

As you continue to refine your market strategies for the snacks and baked goods you provide to the world’s consumers, keep a close eye on sustainability—and how you are talking about it. The efforts you make to improve the environmental footprint of your supply chain, operations, packaging, and beyond can do much to differentiate your product offerings to a public hungry for options that align with their increasingly “green” ideals.