Visitors to the Baking Industry Exhibition 2008 (BIE) not only had access to 120 exhibitors, but could also take advantage of a range of innovative features.

The latest equipment and machinery was showcased at a fully-functioning demonstration bakery, which churned out a variety of products from doughnuts to muffins during the four days of BIE.

The show, held at Birmingham’s NEC, included a Bake-Off section with plenty of products for bakers to sample. Weary visitors could also take a seat at the demonstration theatre, where top bakers including Dan Lepard, Wayne Caddy and Richard Bertinet gave expert masterclasses. Meanwhile, teams of students battled it out in California Raisins’ Future Baker of the Year Competition.

And those with time left after browsing around BIE could visit the other shows held across eight interconnecting halls under the collective title Food & Drink World.

The next three pages focus on the highlights of the BIE 2008.

Bo Sander, exhibitor, key export account manager, Valsemøllen

"This is the first time we’ve exhibited in the UK - we want to show the bakers the products we have from Denmark, especially what we can do around wholegrain and organic, and show with our 100% mixes, concentrates and improvers that wholegrain can be as important here as in Denmark.

André Sarafilovic, visitor, Wm Stephens Bakery

"With a bakery to equip, I’m looking for depositing and other equipment. I’m impressed by the show, but I do think families should be allowed."

Niall Irwin, visitor, Irwins Bakery, Portadown

"If exhibitors and organisers are forward-thinking enough to put on a show, the industry should support it. There are some good, clever products here."

Simon Solway, exhibitor, Unifine Dohler

"The show is very good. We have already signed up for the next one. We launched a new range of natural flavours. If we had to send samples out to everyone, it would be tricky."

Christine Freeman, visitor, Dunns (Bakery) of Crouch End

"The show is good, we are here for two days and there is plenty to see, but they should allow families in, especially on a Sunday, which is the only family day for many bakers."

Shaun Hughes, exhibitor, Clearbake

"We’ve had an impressive level of interest and, importantly, good quality. We’ve had enquiries from people from Australia, Cyprus and Sri Lanka."

Lawrence Watson, exhibitor, Bowmans Milling, VIP lounge

"This is a new concept for us; it has worked very well. The valet parking has been very good and we are delighted with the quality of visitors to the lounge.