Allen Wright serves on the IBIE 2022 committee and is vice president of sales and marketing at Hansaloy. He has been in the baking industry for 27 years.
What are you looking forward to most about IBIE 2022?
Having the industry together in one location and engaging in person will be exciting as this has not happened globally on this scale since IBIE 2019. I think all participants, both attendees and exhibitors, will have a renewed appreciation for being face-to-face and connecting in that environment as opposed to virtual meetings.
How will this show be different from 2019?
The ongoing labor situation will drive a significant amount of what you see at the show this year. Hiring and retaining people is such a challenge, so you’ll see even more solutions that address this significant concern and education sessions too.
I also believe automation will take a considerable leap forward this year as both bakers and suppliers are viewing the feasibility of automation projects with different ROI standards than just a few years ago.
And you will continue to see even more robust programming from IBIEducate to meet the professional and skill development and education demands that bakers need to navigate the current landscape.
What do you hope to take away from the show?
I hope to connect face-to-face with customers and friends that I haven’t seen much in the last couple of years. And I hope to get a sense of the overall health of the industry, which I am bullish on!
What’s your favorite part about IBIE? How has this part of the show been enhanced for 2022?
My favorite part of the show is the Expo itself. Observing the interaction between bakers and suppliers, people enjoying demonstrations, and exploring the equipment is the essence of the marketplace. From the booths at work and “a-ha moments” to the innovations launched and unique displays — palpable energy is formed that I find very exciting. In 2022, the Expo will take place in the brand-new Las Vegas Convention Center West Hall and the North Hall that we all know and love. Attendees and exhibitors can experience the campus virtually by visiting IBIE’s website.
How do you anticipate the current industry challenges will impact people’s goals for IBIE?
Bakers and suppliers are looking through a revised lens, so what may not have been feasible a few years ago is being viewed differently today. Attendees and exhibitors are reviewing previous projects to see if they are achievable and if these projects can provide acceptable ROI in today’s environment. And they are looking ahead at new projects in the same manner.
What new technology do you find the most exciting, and what holds the most promise for the baking industry?
I am interested to see how automation has evolved since IBIE 2019. There is a strong demand for automation and this industry has capable and creative suppliers, so I can’t wait to see how that has evolved. There’s also growing promise in the area of virtual reality, particularly from a training and troubleshooting perspective.
What’s the top reason people come to IBIE?
From my perspective, the most important reason to attend IBIE is to be an active part of the industry and reconnect or build new relationships. Networking and the opportunity to move not only your business forward but your professional development as well are unparalleled. A smart guy told me many years ago, “You can’t fake being there,” which is especially true at IBIE.
What new opportunities will exhibitors have to get their message in front of attendees?
Before the show: IBIE offers a robust exhibitor marketing toolkit filled with assets and guides. This toolkit helps companies to promote their presence at IBIE and make sure attendees plan to meet them there. Beginning March 9, exhibitors can also offer their customers a 20% discount on their Expo pass.
During the show: the Innovation Showcase will have enhanced offerings that will make this an even more engaging experience. We’ve also added new categories to the esteemed BEST in Baking Industry Awards, and in addition to the promotional benefits, we’ll host an award ceremony for the top-honors recipients. Lastly, we offer a wide range of sponsorship opportunities, including the new digital signage dubbed the “West Hall Lobby Spectacular.”
What can exhibitors expect from IBIE 2022?
IBIE 2022 will continue to deliver a world-class baking show that features all of the global players in the commercial baking industry and the retail market. The industry has a pent-up demand for in-person interactions, so this show’s energy will be off the charts! Not only that, but we’re seeing a trend with trade shows now, that the proportion of decision-makers in attendance is at an all-time high and that buyers are especially ready to do business. At IBIE 2019, we found that 88% of attendees directly approve or recommend purchases, and we expect that percentage to be even higher this year.
Why is it so important for suppliers to be at IBIE 2022?
If you want to have meaningful business in this industry, you simply cannot afford not to be at IBIE 2022. It’s the largest trade event for the grain-based foods industry in the Western Hemisphere. Since the Expo is attended by every segment of the industry and the entire spectrum of job functions, it’s sure to provide exhibitors access to their target audience. And for 32% of attendees, IBIE is the only trade show they attend.
How is the current economic climate — COVID-19 challenges, supply chain, labor, etc. — impacting suppliers’ ability to get in front of bakers?
All of these challenges have impacted suppliers’ ability to meet in person and develop or maintain rich partnerships with bakers. While the details of the impact vary from business to business, there is no doubt that all these factors limited suppliers’ ability to build connections, increase exposure or influence and generate sales productively. The Baking Expo is the perfect solution because it is efficient to meet with a large volume of buyers in a matter of days, and the average cost to close a deal from a trade show is 50% less than a regular sales call.
Why is it important to invest in marketing and exhibiting even in the face of uncertainty?
Keeping your brand relevant has been especially important since the onset of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Today’s market offers a rare opportunity for proactive firms to improve their competitive advantage through increased marketing efforts.
It’s no secret that Expos have the highest return on investment of any marketing and sales channels. In-person meetings result in greater efficiency through deepening relationships and increasing productivity that contributes to the overall health of supplier companies. Virtual meetings create a sounding board for collaboration, but the live forum of face-to-face meetings increases credibility, adoption and implementation of new ideas and innovations.
This article originally appeared in Baking & Snack magazine, a Sosland Publishing publication and official media provider of IBIE. Long recognized as the industry’s most trusted source of news and information, Baking & Snack offers compelling coverage and analysis of ingredient and equipment technologies, breaking industry news, equipment and facility investment, and the latest industry trends.