Iba set to welcome global stars of the bakery and confectionery world

After a major pandemic-enforced break, iba is set to return this month, showcasing the bakery and confectionery sector’s key developments for the global marketplace, as Neill Barston discovers speaking to the event’s director, Susann Seidemann

Attending the last edition of iba in 2018, the show offered a compelling range of industry technology, new product innovations and major market trends across its vibrant halls. No-one could have predicted the chain of events that would lead to its postponement a full five years later, yet there’s a strong sense of anticipation building for this year’s global gathering. This is especially the case given the scale of the previous show, which attracted in the region of 1,300 exhibitors and attendance of well over 77,000 visitors to its vibrant, engaging halls.

In light of iba not going ahead as anticipated due to the pandemic in 2021, it instead delivered a virtual ‘Connecting Experts’ showcase which shone a spotlight on these combined industries that are experiencing notable changes globally. So, as exhibition director Susann Seidemann notes, there’s been a significant amount of planning and engagement across the sector to ensure that the 2023 event – taking place between 22-26 October in Munich, will be well worth the wait.

As she reveals, it will be taking place under several key pillars exploring topics including artisan bakery, food trends, industry sustainability, and the major drive towards digitalisation that is having a transformative impact on the sector. Among key standout features will be its iba Forum, offering additional educational insights from senior industry professionals from around the world, as well as hosting its awards’ ceremonies.

Moreover, there will also be a chance for visitors to engage with some hands-on bakery opportunities through its academy sessions – which will allow attendees to make a variety of sweet treats for themselves, including pretzels and stollen. Furthermore, there will also be a dedicated speakers’ area, featuring a daily programme of experts on hand to help ensure that the event fulfils its dynamic potential. With so much happening across the sector in the past few years, another notable feature will be the exhibition’s dedicated start-up area that will place emerging enterprises under the spotlight. “I am really looking forward to this year’s iba. It’s my first show, and I’m hoping that visitors will be inspired by the event.

Major industry focuses

After five years, it is like a reunion since the last edition, with everyone meeting again to discover new trends, innovations and products for the market “It is the world’s leading show for the industry, and we are connecting visitors from all over the world, with 46 nations, represented among 1027 exhibitors,” explained the director, who added that maintaining both the diverse range of businesses on show and the global base of attendees gains the most possible out of the trade fair is the team’s core goal. Significantly, as it’s the event’s director adds, the show brings together all the products and technologies that are relevant to bakery operations and confectioners of all sizes, as well as decision-makers from all spheres of the immediate industry, as well as wider food retailers.

The range of topics includes from raw materials, ingredients and frozen bakery products through production and packaging technology, process optimisation and information technology to complete interior design of bakeries, pastry shops or cafés. Crucially, the show’s ambition is to show the production chain from A-Z and to respond to the needs of the different target groups. iba is a marketplace, a mirror of society and is intended to promote cooperation and learning from each other and the exchange of innovations and ideas across all sectors of the baking industry.

Susann added: “A lot of those I’ve talked to in the industry have told me that it has felt like such a long time since the last show, with plans for the following edition being interrupted by Covid-19. So, they are really looking forward to getting back together, to find out new trends and exchange their thoughts on challenges facing bakery and confectionery markets.

“In speaking to many people, the sector is facing similar issues in terms of available resources, supply chains, as well as the topic of sustainability, so the opportunity to learn from each other is one of the main goals for iba,” revealed Susann, who noted that on a personal level, gaining that early engagement with stakeholders has proved an invaluable part of the process of staging the event. She has brought her considerable broader sector experience to the role as director, which she took on in 2021.

Confectionery elements
Prior to arriving at her present post, she spent 12 years as head of a media agency for trade shows across electronic, optics, sports and property investment, as well as engaging with the iba team in 2015, that gave her a strong grounding for driving this year’s international expo. While the show has bakery very much at its core, there are some especially notable confectionery elements, including a special area featuring ZDS, the central school of the German confectionery sector, which is part of Confectionery Production’s editorial board. The organisation will be establishing a special Confectionery Tec area to inform attendees about a host of opportunities within the sector in term of key technology, best industry practices and how trends are evolving in processing of chocolate, glazes and decorative designs. As the event’s director enthuses, there’s certainly going to be plenty of opportunities right across the event.

She adds: “As a show director – I have to understand the business of bakery and the challenges that the industry is facing. “I am really proud to be directing the event, but of course it is not only me that is handling the show. I have a team that is responsible for the organisation of the exhibitors, dealing with hall plans, as well as press and marketing and communications for the event who are all working together on it.” This year’s event is set to showcase some of the brightest talents from across Europe and the wider global bakery market, which is continuing to evolve at a rapid pace. As the iba director notes, there have been some notable challenges facing the bakery sector in particular within the host nation’s market – which has traditionally been especially strong.

 

 

 

While that remains the case, recent figures from the Central Association of the German Bakery Trade noted, that the number of employees in the industry on a national level has in fact fallen from 292,000 in 2012, to 238,000 in 2022. Moreover, as industry observers have noted, there has been a trend for consolidation of businesses within the industry – marked by larger groups taking a dominant share of the overall market, with digitalisation and advanced technology playing its part in reshaping the landscape of the broader industry. This has resulted in the number of companies registered as craft bakers in Germany has also reduced, from 13,666 a decade ago, to 9,600 reported last year, falling 3.6 per cent in the last two years.

Event optimism
As previously reported, there have been a number of additional factors that have influenced the situation, with the Covid-19 pandemic proving especially significant, as well as the energy crisis of the past year linked to the ongoing Ukraine war, that has pushed up energy and ingredients prices significantly.

While there are indeed tests facing both the bakery and confectionery sectors across the world, the iba events team expressed some genuine optimism for this year’s showcase in Munich. With its core goals of promoting cooperation and learning right across the production chain of these major combined industries, there’s a sense that after five years, the 2023 is building to be something particularly special. As its team revealed, show visitors will have the chance to make the most of their engagement with the event through its digital platform, iba Universe, lending even greater focus to the show’s preparations. Its significance is underlined by the diverse exhibitor list that includes everything from promising start-up companies, through to major corporations that have given their backing to what is anticipated to be a highlight of the events calendar for the year.

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