iba 2015: The Future is Now

After a three year break, the leading trade fair for bakery, confectionery and snacks, iba, has once again provided the platform for a comprehensive display of industry trends and developments at the Messe Fairground Munich during September 11-17 this year. Innovation was the underlying theme among exhibitors, with numerous technology and new concept launches at the stands.

Over 1,250 exhibitors welcomed visitors at this year’s iba, and almost half of them showcased production technology and equipment used for the entire range of bakery and confectionery products, including those pertaining to the frozen sector, such as par-baked and fully baked products, ice cream, snacks and snack food, and more.

The second iba summit held one day prior to the show summarized the main topics of this year’s fair. Industrial and artisan examples were explained to show how innovation drives a traditional market, and also highlight the challenges and opportunities facing the bakery industry in the coming years, as Peter Becker, president of the German Bakers’ Confederation and the initiator of this iba-summit, said. Snacking trends were highlighted by food trend researcher Gretel Weiss, who brought market data and best practice examples on “Bakery snacks, cafés, foodservice: Potential and prospects for your growth.” Jonathan Doughty also illustrated trends with his presentation on “Top 10 international highlights for food, shopping, travel and hospitality”.

The show is expected to have cracked the 77,000 visitor mark this year, many of whom were drawn in by the competitions and demonstrations held in Hall B3 throughout the show. For the first time, iba dedicated this area to one subject in particular – snacks and everything snacking.

Snacks – the hot topic
The SnackTrendS themed areas showcased innovations to meet consumer demands on food regimen specifics ranging from gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, organic products, snacks to support active life-styles and athletes, and many more. They were presented every day with live demonstrations from masters, artisans and celebrity chefs at the iba forum and at stands incorporating the SnackTrendS. For example, Jörg Schmid and Johannes Hirth, Siegfried Brenneis and Gerhard Gröber from the German National Bakers Team presented breakfast snacks and pastries.
In the Snack Action Area, the Snack Akademie showcased extensive snack ideas and knowhow on the correct storage of ingredients, as well as production, presentation and packaging.

For example, Austrian company backaldrin has a brought an insight into snacking redefined. backaldrin has come up with different vegan snack ideas in cooperation with the TV chef and author Sebastian Copien. These range from soy spread with all sorts of berries to carrot quinoa salad. “Vegipan” is a yeast-free, vegan whole-meal bread which was used as a basis for the snacks. At iba, Sebastian Copien served bread-snacks and also shared tips on how this can be integrated in one’s own business, with live demonstrations and the stand.

Machine intelligence
Innovations in energy-saving and close monitoring of baking processes were also sought after, as the industry is implementing the “I” to its technology, with creative new IT solutions newly available. The “Internet of Things” is no longer just a concept in theoretical, scholar presentations; it could be observed in action at iba, with data monitoring instruments that enable users to react instantly during production or analyze every aspect of product handling with the help of live data reports. One such example, out of numerous exhibitors focusing on IT solutions, comes from PreciBake, experts in artificial intelligence with a background in the automotive industry – a background they have successfully used and adopted for the bakery industry. The company showcased one instance of how bakers are going mobile, out of the bakery while having full updates and control over production: machines that are taught all product specifications in order to optimize baking processes, with cloud integration on an open platform which enables data storage and monitoring via cloud. The name they chosen for this solution summarizes an important technology trend at iba: “Virtual baker”.

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