In today’s bakery industry, few topics have as far-reaching impact as sustainability. With ongoing shopper interest in the details surrounding a bakery product from farm to table, bakers have responded with increased transparency, cleaner labels and more-natural product profiles.

But environmental sustainability is so much more than finished-product appearances. It’s a significant part of the supply-chain and processing equation as factors like ingredient sourcing grow more important. It centers on equipment and process-control technology that increase throughput and reduce energy expenditures. It involves overall bakery designs that closely align with LEED certification. And in the end, it’s about driving bakery businesses forward, setting the standards that soon enough will become the new normal, positioning companies ahead of the game and well suited to building a healthy bottom line.

The International Baking Industry Exposition’s (IBIE) 2016 B.E.S.T. in Baking Program, presented at the show Oct. 8-11, are all about Becoming Environmentally Sustainable Together (B.E.S.T.). The awards will honor sustainability achievements in bakery ingredients, equipment, packaging and logistics. Also, for the first time, three awards will go to bakeries attending IBIE: two categories of wholesale bakeries—one for high volume (over $50 million in annual sales) and one for low to intermediate volume (up to $50 million in annual sales)—and one retail bakery award.

Categories open to consideration for a 2016 B.E.S.T. in Baking Award include:

  • Sustainably grown, sourced and processed ingredients aligned with natural and clean-label criteria
  • Equipment that reduces environmental impacts while improving bakery efficiency
  • Environmentally sustainable packaging materials
  • Logistics solutions that reduce energy usage and environmental impact
  • Wholesale and retail bakeries that have incorporated the above measures to lead the industry in environmental sustainability

The following represent key selection criteria for the 2016 B.E.S.T. in Baking Awards:

  • Sourcing ingredients derived from renewable agricultural resources cultivated with environmentally sustainable farming practices
  • Reducing the distance required to transport products, ingredients, packaging and/or equipment
  • Reducing greenhouse gas emissions and the overall carbon footprint by replacing traditional lighting with energy-efficient alternatives; updating heating, ventilation and air conditioner systems; updating refrigeration and other equipment; reducing plant space requirements; and lowering plant air requirements
  • Increasing the amount of recyclable materials used
  • Reducing landfill impact
  • Reducing water usage through use of efficient appliances, fixtures and fittings, as well as introduction of water-conserving landscaping outdoors
  • Advances in use of packaging with improved environmental dynamics, including reduced material usage, reduced distribution impact, and use of recyclable, renewable and/or compostable materials
  • Reducing overall energy usage through active monitoring; efficient design and construction; use of efficient appliances, systems and lighting; use of renewable and clean sources of energy, generated on-site or off-site; and other innovative strategies, including LEED certification

Judging of all B.E.S.T. in Baking submissions and nominations will be overseen by an independent panel governed by IBIE organizers.

Winners of the 2016 B.E.S.T. in Baking awards will gain significant exposure through IBIE-related press and on-site exposure at the IBIE show, taking place Oct. 8-11. Coverage of the winners form the central focus of a dedicated B.E.S.T. in Baking report as part of the September 2016 issue of Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery, distributed at IBIE and sent out digitally to the online Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery audience. During IBIE, Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery staff will conduct video interviews with the winners that will find a home on At IBIE, physical B.E.S.T. in Baking awards will be presented to all winners during a special event. The winners will also receive exposure in the B.E.S.T. in Baking Lounge.

For complete submission criteria and to submit or nominate ingredients, equipment, logistics technology, packaging or a bakery for a 2016 B.E.S.T. in Baking Award, visit the IBIE B.E.S.T. in Baking Program page