Bread, bread, bread, I love bread. Whether it’s in the form of dinner rolls, croissants, blueberry muffins, cinnamon rolls or breadsticks, you name the bread option, I’ll most likely eat it.
That’s why I proudly displayed my “I heart Bread” sticker at IBIE 2010, which took place Sept. 26-29 in Las Vegas.
As the saying goes, “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.” Good thing that applies to everything except the bread aisle.
After a rather bumpy 3.5-hour flight, filled with snoring passengers and yes, even the PDA-rich couple who seemed to be looking for the winning roulette numbers in each others’ mouths, I finally landed in Sin City and was ready to…. feast on bread.
The first order of business was my presentation at the Tortilla Industry Association’s Technical Conference. On behalf of Tortilla Trends, Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery’s bi-annual special report for the tortilla industry, I discussed how tortillas and flatbreads stack up in the baking industry-they’re becoming viable contenders to sliced bread. Thanks to an insurgence of tortillas and flatbreads blended together with innovative new uses, merchandising and ingredients, consumers have unlimited menu options when it comes to creating meals with tortillas and flatbreads.
Then, equipped with my comfortable Sketchers and my old-lady tradeshow glasses, I headed out to the show floor to watch equipment in action and taste a host of bread-related prototype products, all while visiting dear friends and meeting new ones.
This triennial tradeshow allowed more than 700 companies to showcase cutting-edge technologies, equipment and new products, proving that this industry continues to win big, regardless of economical pitfalls, food tampering and other obstacles that pose sometimes unforeseen challenges.
As a result, IBIE 2010 hosted several competitions, seminars, press meetings and awards, specifically the B.E.S.T. in Baking program, which was co-sponsored by Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery and The Long Co., and awarded those companies making a commitment to positive transformation in the world.
Likewise, the Retail Bakers of America (RBA), American Bakers Association (ABA) and Bakery Equipment Manufacturers & Allieds (BEMA) announced their newest industry event, All Things Baking, which is set to take place Oct. 2-4, 2011, at the Renaissance Schaumburg Hotel and Convention Center in Schaumburg, Ill. All Things Baking will be held in lieu of RBA’s standalone annual event, the American Retail Bakery Exposition, and is designed for a much wider audience than has frequented traditional “retail baking” events in the past. For more information on this event, go to www.allthingsbaking2011.com.
I also attended a host of conferences, including the International Baking Dialogue and Breakfast, which was sponsored by The Netherlands-based pcdata Logistics Automation. At this event, a team of industry experts discussed how bread consumption in China, Poland and Rumania is experiencing an uptick in sales and popularity, and how the cultural divide presents a lineup of different bread types, textures and varieties.
Meanwhile, Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery’s contributing columnist, Jeff Dearduff, shared some tricks-of-the-trade in his 60-minute speech on successful mentoring programs. For me, it was refreshing to see a guy who writes about reality TV and race car driving in his column, Engineering Management, speak beautifully to a room full of strangers. If you haven’t attended one of his presentations before, I suggest you make this a priority at an upcoming show.
Then I attended the ABA Leadership Forum where Cordia Harrington, president and CEO of Tennessee Bun Co., offered tips to becoming a great leader. To learn more about Harrington’s leadership roles, check out the cover story of Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery’s September issue.
Although I was a rookie to the show, it’s safe to say that my first IBIE experience was nothing short of winning the jackpot. That’s not just because I heart bread – it’s because I also love the baking industry.
See you in three years!
Marina Mayer, executive editor