It’s a chance to give thanks to your customers, with a coffee or a beer, which, even at 10 o’clock in the morning, Germans sometimes drink!" said Zeelandia’s commercial director Wim Nuboer, commenting not on the annual Munich beer-a-thon Oktoberfest, but the international bakery show, IBA, which also took place in the Bavarian capital earlier this month.
While happily tipsy homelanders populated the city centre, bakers from around the world congregated at Europe’s biggest bakery trade fair. Nine massive exhibition halls housed Europe’s major bakery players and among them were representatives from these shores - from niche suppliers of piping bags to manufacturers of large-scale plant equipment, as well as multinationals with a strong UK presence.
The show was a great opportunity to gauge what’s happening in international markets and showcase new products, said Nuboer. "Because the international markets are so diverse, we don’t introduce products universally - instead, we roll out products step by step. The show is like an advertisement, in a big, expensive way, but it’s the place to be every three years."
Zeelandia launched its new Amaranth bread aimed at the 50-year-old-plus market in Germany - a high-protein bread using an ancient South and Central America grain that is said to be high in nutrients, such as magnesium and calcium. It is currently being evaluated for the UK.
Building brand/presence/image were other key reasons for exhibiting. This was the first time the restructured AB Mauri, the umbrella company that includes Cereform, had shown at IBA and the major aim was to highlight its international reach, said marketing manager Marion Bauer. "It is all about reinforcing the brands that are under the AB Mauri umbrella in India, China, Argentina and the other countries. We are not looking to promote any specific products, but rather the whole service we give on the yeast and bakery ingredients side, and to encourage our industrial customers to come to us with their problems."
Among the industry giants were niche operators, who risked getting lost in the vastness of the exhibition, though, for some, the exercise paid dividends. "It’s very easy to be missed - but we’re a niche, specialised product, and people are beginning to make us a destination because we are different, new and innovative," said Dovemart’s director Greg Fitchett. His firm was launching its disposable High Grip pastry bags into Europe.
"There are hygiene issues with canvas bags and we offer a totally disposable bag. We’re already established in the UK but interest has been immense from European distributors," he commented. The firm exhibited with assistance from Birmingham Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which collected a number of exhibitors under a Great Britain banner. One was Croda Food Services, which supplies release agents and emulsifier systems for large-scale bread and flour confectionery-producing companies.
Interest was greatest in its perceived healthier fats and oils, said business development manager Mike Edson. "We have a lot of things that the industry is now looking for - low trans-fatty acids and non-hydrogenated products," he said.
"We have a large market share in the UK - it’s difficult to grow that but the European market is continuing to grow," adds Edson, stressing the importance of developing into overseas markets.
Chris Grimbleby, sales manager of Flemings, makers of fondant icings, jams, sugars and other bakery products, agreed there are untapped opportunities: "Everyone is aware that the UK bakery market has been contracting so any opportunity to expand has to be taken."
Ferguson Engineering, based in Burnley, supplies wax-wrapping machines. Site installation manager Trevor Bradley says: "People who have come to see us know what they want and the show has gone very well for us, both for our UK and overseas customers, particularly from South Africa and New Zealand."
Significant interest in new equipment came from the Far East, Middle East and Australia, added Donna Haynes, export manager at Mono: "Our emphasis is very much on export opportunities." The Swansea-based firm was launching its Omega depositor with colour pictoral programming.
"It’s a small industry and you can’t really afford not to have a presence here," concluded Mike Ball, marketing co-ordinator of plant supplier Spooner Vicars, which showcased its chocolate moulding, wafer ovens and proof and bake systems. "Around 90% of people we talk to are existing customers. Export is very important - Russia is a developing market and we’re looking at manufacturing in the States. If you get one or two serious enquiries at IBA, it makes it all worthwhile."
=== IBA at a glance with Anne Bruce ===
n Nuts and seeds specialist Fuerst Day Lawson came to the IBA for the first time to publicise its new partnership, a sesame plant in Gujarat, India. Commercial director Nicola Divers said the plant would ensure consistent quality of supply to the food industry worldwide.
n Exhibitors at IBA included Canadian flatbread and muffins company FGF brands, which currently supplies Starbucks in America with its muffins. Director Ojus Ajmera said FGF plans to open a bakery in the UK in the longer term as a global expansion continues.
n Netherlands-based ingredients company Sonneveld was also at the show. Project manager Frank Sonneveld said the company had had a fantastic reaction from bakers in the UK, following its launch in the UK earlier this year. The company has just opened a training and research centre at its base in Holland, in partnership with bakery suppliers including MIWE and COMA.
n Bakery ingredients supplier Synergy came to the show from the Netherlands with its bakery ingredients and toppings. Representative Raf Dabekaussen said that the company plans to build its UK business, focusing particularly on its almond products.
n Ingredients company GB Plange was alongside yeast operation Gb Ingredients, which it split from following its purchase by German conglomerate Werhahn earlier this year (British Baker, July 14, pg 5). General manager Marie Parnell said the new-look business plans to expand its confectionery side in the UK.
n Equipment supplier Baker Perkins was at IBA, following its acquisition by private investors earlier this year (British Baker, April 28, pg 5). It was more reactive and focused on research and development, bakery sales manager Geoff Hawley reported.
n International ingredients supplier Bakels unveiled two new joint venture companies, Bakbel Asia (formerly DLA Inc) and Bakbel Europe, operational from next March and based in Belgium. They will specialise in products including fillings, jams and glazes, extending Bakels’ reach into new markets.
n International ingredients company Lesaffre Group launched new ready-to-use frozen yeast, Saf semi-dry at the show, aimed at small to medium-size bakers. It also unveiled a Kastalia-branded liquid yeast developed for industrial bakers, currently under trial in the UK and set to launch next year.
n Managing directors from ingredients supplier Bakels’ divisons across the world were on its stand with UK MD Paul Morrow reporting it was having a "cracking" show. Bakel’s low-glycaemic-index GI Multiseed Concentrate bread mix, developed in the UK, was a big hit, he said. Bakels is making a list of UK craft bakers, which supply low-GI products, as it prepares to launch a consumer website listing low-GI bakery stockists [http://www.lowgibread.org.uk]. To register and receive an information pack, e-mail email@example.com
n Pastry and dough processing equipment specialist Rondo Doge brought a range of equipment, including its new Smartline 2 all-purpose dough band former system. Rondo’s Mike Johnson said the new line can process both laminated and hydrated doughs, such as ciabatta. Central controls alter all settings simultaneously, for a quick swap between ciabattas and bloomers, for example.
n Puratos announced the opening of its Innovation Center in Belgium. Following an investment of 6 million Euros, the 2,400sq m facility features a library and museum and will provide exercises, presentations, market information and demonstrations to visitors Housing high-tech equipment, the bakery workplace is viewable from the lobby. Sensory analysis laboratories will take a scientific approach to analysing and measuring taste. Meanwhile, an auditorium will feature regular seminars for training employees in the Puratos Group.
n Australian-based industrial oven company AutoBake came to the IBA to show off a range including a new ’stand-alone’ variant of its compact Serpentine oven, which can use a baker’s existing trays and ancillary equipment, aimed at bakers who do not have the budget for a full upgrade. Director Amanda Hicks said it was also launching a version of the Serpentine oven offering convection heating.