IBIE Committee Vice Chair Interview: Sustainability Isn’t a Trend, It’s the Future!

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As the show’s international participation continues to grow, the Baking Expo will cover over 1 million sq. ft., space that will host the new, the innovative, the inspirational, and the latest in all areas of baking.

There are many new and exciting features in store, from new show floor areas dedicated to the artisan bread industry to virtual reality tours, competitions, demonstrations, including the Innovation Showcase, and the Fresh Take Talks. Dennis Gunnell (pictured), IBIE Committee vice chair, and president of Formost Fuji Corp., has offered European Baker & Biscuit a comprehensive look behind the scene ahead of the show in September.

How has the international interest expanded over the past years and how will it be reflected at IBIE in September? 

Our show continues to grow year-over-year, thanks in part to international participation on both sides of the aisle. Just over 25% of our exhibitors come from outside the U.S., with the majority coming from Canada and Europe – and strong growth coming from Asia. Our show is expected to sell out for the second time in a row, despite opening up additional space. International participants, whether they are an attendee or exhibitor, see great value in our show – as evidenced by our growth.

What international trends represent opportunities on the US market and we can expect to find at the fair?

As an international show, IBIE provides bakers with a comprehensive offering as many markets – including the U.S. – are trending toward more diversified, multi-cultural products. Likewise, many international markets that were once very fragmented are beginning to industrialize and look to the U.S. for information and resources to scale their operations and/or break into the wholesale market.


What are the main trends influencing industrial baking, from your observations? 

  • Some of the trends and challenges include the workforce gap, clean labeling and new sugar regulations. Bakers are under a lot of pressure for new product innovation to address the demand for BFY (Better-For-You) products.
  • Digitization is also top of mind, applications including digital diagnostics, maintenance, scheduling, and performance and analytics tracking as well as tools that allow for remote access, automating processes.
  • Scaled artisan baking is becoming a new profit center for commercial bakers as they are able to introduce efficiencies and processes.
  • As states legalize marijuana here in the S., bakers are able to capitalize on a new market and demand.
  • Bakers are also tapping into the e-commerce trend—building (or collaborating on) direct-to-consumer efforts.


IBIE 2019 offers two new Artisan Marketplaces, Crafted by Puratos and the Bread Bakers Guild of America. What do these interactive features entail and why are they introduced?

As consumer demand increases for artisan breads, bakers are looking to capitalize on the trend and IBIE provides the resources to help them. The IBIE Artisan Marketplace Crafted by Puratos will give artisan bakers a comprehensive destination to celebrate the history and art of specialty baked goods. Within the Marketplace, Puratos will feature The Sourdough Experience, which includes hands-on demonstrations and workshops, as well as a virtual tour of, and actual samples from, their Sourdough Library in Belgium, the only library of its kind in the world. Puratos will also feature their MyBreaD program, offering attendees the opportunity to select their own ingredients for creating a personalized loaf of artisan bread that can be picked up in the Marketplace the following day. Additionally, a presentation theater in the space will feature intimate, face-to-face discussions with featured bakers, digital presentations and videos for learning, networking and informal meetings. The European-influenced setting and sidewalk café seating will create a truly immersive atmosphere on the show floor.

In the IBIE Artisan Marketplace Crafted by Bread Bakers Guild of America, attendees will find a uniquely designed environment inspired by the California Wine Country. The Marketplace will focus on engaging bakers through live demonstrations with a full lineup of expert-led content running daily throughout the duration of the expo.


How do you envision sustainable baking in the future, at any production capacity?

Sustainability isn’t a trend – it’s the future. Consumers are gravitating to companies and manufacturers who support corporate responsibility and regulators are putting more restrictions in place. While some bakers may find sustainable initiatives cost-prohibitive, many actually provide a significant cost savings. In fact, we have an IBIEducate session presented by ABA, that we encourage bakers to participate in: Energy Efficiency Improvement and Cost Savings Opportunities for Baking.


What workforce trends can be observed and how are gaps addressed?

It’s a complicated challenge and it’s been addressed in a multitude of ways. On the one side, there have been technology advancements and automation that help reduce the gap within bakeries. On the other side, IBIE also provides education to help bakeries acquire, train and retain employees. The supporting associations are also very involved with educational institutions to ensure there’s a pipeline of qualified bakery professionals entering the workforce.

Please share details about the BEST in Baking Program, including organization, eligibility criteria, updates regarding nominees and winner announcements.

The BEST in Baking industry awards program provides our baking community the opportunity to celebrate and showcase leaders in the industry, working to bring category excellence and thought leadership to important industry defining topics. This program honors suppliers and bakers committed to excellence from sustainability and supply chain innovation to workforce development.

The program is organized in partnership with Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery and entrants are evaluated by a panel of judges. Winners will be announced on August 12th, 2019 and awarded at IBIE in September.

What is the involvement of American Bakers Association (ABA), the Retail Bakers of America (RBA) and Bakery Equipment Manufacturers and Allieds (BEMA) in organizing IBIE?

IBIE is produced by the American Bakers Association (ABA), the Retail Bakers of America (RBA) and Bakery Equipment Manufacturers and Allieds (BEMA). The associations represent the interests of the key stakeholders at our event and are behind the vision and planning of IBIE. All proceeds from IBIE are invested back into the industry through the associations, including education, advocacy and consumer awareness programs.

Source:  worldbakers.com