The International Baking Industry Exposition (IBIE) welcomed close to 20,000 attendees, ready to take their baking businesses to the next level after the prolonged recession.

Attendees flooded the halls of the Las Vegas Convention Center during the International Baking Industry Exposition, Sept. 26-29. In fact, nearly 20,000 attendees gathered, ready to see the latest in baking technology, ingredients and equipment after the prolonged recession that filled much of the gap in the show’s three-year rotation. The four-day show offered more than 700 exhibitors.

“IBIE has always been known for innovation, but these exhibitors took it to a whole new level,” says Mike Beaty, IBIE vice chairman and executive vice president of supply chain for Flowers Foods, Inc. “Clearly, we have raised the bar for the next generation of baking technology, and IBIE has solidified its positioning as the industry’s largest platform for new product launches.”

The number of international buyers also surged. Many exhibitors stated that this was the best IBIE show in history for connecting with buyers from outside the United States-buyers that many exhibitors would not have been able to reach on their own.

“Our post-show statistics prove that our international marketing efforts paid off,” says Rich Hoskins, IBIE committee chair and president of Colborne Foodbotics, LLC. “Nearly 30% of our buyers were from outside the United States, with Australia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, El Salvador, Mexico and Japan bringing the largest buying contingencies.”

The show committee also achieved one of its primary objectives: To bring the entire grain-based food industry together. The Tortilla Industry Association (TIA) held its annual two-day Technical Conference in conjunction with IBIE, almost doubling the number of participants that normally attend the meeting. Similarly, the Retail Bakers of America (RBA) completely integrated into IBIE rather than holding a stand-alone event.

“To be joined with a show this big was the best thing that could have happened to the RBA-and it’s the best show we’ve ever attended,” says Cheryl Sherman of The Ambrosia Bakery, based in Baton Rouge, La. “Sure, there’s a lot of big-time equipment, but it’s given me a wish list and ideas on how to grow my bakery and do things I had never dreamed.”

Educational opportunities also were everywhere. AIB International, the RBA, The Bread Bakers Guild of America, TIA, ABA and BEMA collaborated on offering the most comprehensive educational conference to date. The seminar program was five times larger and broader in scope than that of the 2007 event, and attracted a wide variety of participants from across the grain-based food industry.

In addition, IBIE, along withSnack Food & Wholesale Bakeryand The Long Co., honored 11 industry suppliers that have made a positive impact on the environment with its B.E.S.T. (Becoming Environmentally Sustainable Together) in Baking award. The following companies received a bamboo plaque, onsite recognition and media attention for their products or services that fostered energy conservation, a reduction in water usage, a decrease in landfill waste, healthy living and/or a reduction of the overall impact on the environment:

Air Management Technologies, Inc.
American Pan-Bundy Baking Solutions
AmeriVap Systems
Bedford Industries, Inc.
Colborne Foodbotics, LLC
Danisco USA
HFA, Inc/Handi-Foil of America
Lime Energy for Sara Lee
Sara Lee and Horizon Milling

“We are proud of Lime Energy for winning this award, and because sustainability is such an important part of what we do at Sara Lee, we are proud of the progress we’ve made with their help,” says Rich Berger, director of engineering at Sara Lee Food and Beverage.