When the International Industry Baking Industry Exposition (IBIE) opened its doors Sept. 26-29 at the Las Vegas Convention Center, there were some new faces on the show floor, including more international buyers, retail bakers and tortilla makers.

This week’s IBIE 2010, jointly sponsored by the American Bakers Association, BEMA and the Retail Bakers of America, opened with gusto, despite the expectation that the number of attendees would track roughly the same as in 2007.

“Clearly, we’ve got some negative trends that are working against us – not only has the baking industry seen some tough times, the number of people attending tradeshows in all industries has declined drastically over the past three years as a result of recessionary issues,” says Richard I. Hoskins, III, president of Colborne Foodbotics and chairman of IBIE 2010. “Companies who are choosing to participate are sending fewer people.”

The core of IBIE, which is wholesale bakers, has downsized because of overall industry consolidation, hence the effort to attract more attendees, Hoskins adds.

“To counterbalance this trend and ensure we deliver to exhibitors both the quality and quantity of buyers to which they are accustomed, we have began targeting new markets with aggressive, multi-channel campaigns.”

Several strategies have been implemented to draw in more international buyers, retail buyers and tortilla makers. These include bringing in international attendees. The show is part of the U.S. Commercial Service’s International Buyer Program, which recruits qualified foreign buyers, sales representatives and business partners in more than 80 countries to participate in U.S. tradeshows each year.

And for the first time, IBIE has entered into official international media sponsorship agreements with 22 foreign trade publications that have been distributing multi-language brochures, running ads and/or featuring news stories about IBIE on a regular basis.

It’s also collaborating with foreign trade events, including Mexipan, Intersicop, Veronafiere, SIAB and Gala Bastien of Chile, and has reached out to more than 40 international associations to invite their members to IBIE.

Attracting more retail bakers to IBIE, the show committee has reached out to the Retail Bakers of America.
Inviting more tortilla makers, the Tortilla Industry Association held its annual two-day Tortilla Technical Management Conference in conjunction with IBIE. The conference is usually held in May, but moved to Sept. 25 and 26 this year to integrate with IBIE’s educational program.

This year’s IBIE education program also was five times larger than the previous event’s program. The multi-faceted conference includes more than 50 sessions designed to help participants improve product, productivity and profitability, according to IBIE officials.