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bbi-2020-02-New ideas for iba

An interview with Cathleen Kabashi, Exhibition Director of iba, and Michael Wippler, President of the German Bakers’ Confederation, Owner of iba, about planning ideas, Hall layout and the sensitive topic of duration.

bbi: You announced in June 2019 that iba 2021 would be reduced to five days. According to your justification at that time, this was based on a survey of exhibitors and visitors during the trade fair in 2018. But both of these groups are very heterogenous – Mrs. Kabashi, could you please explain to us in rather more detail which groups of exhibitors expressed a wish for a shortening, and who on the other hand were against it?
Kabashi: The survey of exhibitors and visitors, together with personal feedback during the 2018 trade fair, motivated us to critically examine the question of duration. After a six-month interval, as a result of which it was also possible for follow-up business after the trade fair to be taken into account in the considerations and in the assessment of iba among exhibitors, the entire sector of industry, national and international exhibitors, and stakeholders of the visitors, were questioned about their wishes. The number of participants was larger than average, especially in view of the fact that the survey took place in a non-iba year, which shows on the one hand the great importance of iba in the sector of industry, and on the other how highly sensitive the specific subject of duration is.
The heterogeneity of iba is beyond doubt. This characteristic is also an essential point that makes iba what it is. Therefore, we considered it important that we obtained an objective result for each group of suppliers and providers, which is why exhibitors were given an opportunity, within the survey questionnaire, to classify themselves into one of the following clusters: Production technology, Raw materials and ingredients, Packaging technology, Logistics, Cleaning and hygiene, Shop fittings and furnishings. Thus, the survey yielded not only a good cross-section with respect to the sector as such, but also with regard to different stand sizes. The evaluation gave a clear statement: a shortening of iba duration from six to five days is the majority wish of the entire sector, not just of individual groups of exhibitors.


Cathleen Kabashi

bbi: In the course of recent years, there has been a steady retreat of raw materials suppliers, and with them has also vanished the small-talk between Artisan bakers and their suppliers in the absence of an order pad, which is so important for customer relations. Have you received any signals from the ranks of the raw materials suppliers that their interest in participation would be reawakened by a shortened duration?
Kabashi: iba is the biggest networking platform for the bakery sector worldwide, and the only trade fair in which visitors ranging from shopfitters and machine manufacturers to raw materials suppliers can find everything from all around the world gathered together in one place. With the shortened duration, iba will also become attractive again for those raw materials suppliers who no longer had any active participation in the trade fair in past years, as has also already been reflected to us in direct conversations with manufacturers. According to the visitor survey, the truth is that the raw materials area is in the topmost position with regard to visitor interest. Furthermore, we record growth in the numbers of international raw materials producers, which keeps the portfolio of iba comprehensive and attractive. Because an optimum duration is not the only reason for a decision to participate (again) in the trade fair, we are currently making other fine-tuning adjustments in the form of content-driven formats, to keep iba attractive for raw materials producers, and to expand its attractiveness. Something to look forward to!

bbi: Artisans and the industry both want to see new
developments at iba, and exhibitors want to present them. As a visitor, I must trudge through all 12 Halls and visit every stand to find out if something really exciting is there, or whether it’s just all talk and a lot of empty words. Is it possible that you might separate the wheat from the chaff at the forthcoming iba, and really provide an opportunity for information and knowledge transfer – either in a special exhibition on the site or digitally via the Internet?
Kabashi: Your question has struck a planning chord that will take concrete form in the coming months.

bbi: Three years is a long time in today’s business world, and structures have also changed, companies have vanished, others have been bought up and new company groups have come into existence among the suppliers to the baked products sector. What effect is that having on your previous Hall layout? Will there be specialized Halls? Will you continue to keep at least one major corporate group as an anchor exhibitor in each Hall? Will the partly traditional Hall communities continue to exist?
Kabashi: The development of the market in the past few years is also reflected in iba, and has had an effect on exhibitor positioning. It has not adversely affected the whole area, but the original clear-cut, successfully implemented layout concept no longer worked in that form. That is why we extensively analyzed the previous iba, and also responded in accordance with the market’s situation and its wishes, and undertook a new hall layout essentially aligned to the feedback from the sector. Specialist visitors will find the offerings appropriate to them, focused within the twelve trade fair halls, combined with an improvement in orientation for visitors, exhibitors and media professionals. This will result in a more efficient trade fair visit, aimed at optimized exhibitor accessibility. We are not redesigning the entire structure within the individual Halls, but we are undertaking segmentation and giving greater focus to the areas for raw materials, artisans and production technology, while proven conglomerates will be taken into account and on request will remain. None of the 12 Halls suffers any loss of attractiveness, since the number of key players at iba is immensely large. The offering of each individual exhibitor contributes to the trade fair’s attractiveness and success.
In another step, the New hall layout means guaranteeing an even accurately customized address to target groups. This will achieve an even sharper positioning of iba in the market and a continued securing of its importance.

bbi: Opportunities to prepare themselves for their visit are important for all visitors, irrespective of whether they are national or international, artisan or industry. Previous iba catalogues have been an unkempt data collection offering little help, because every exhibitor could enter whatever he wanted. Mrs. Kabashi, will that change by the autumn of 2021?
Kabashi: The significance and importance of the digital exhibitor catalogue as an orientation guide for all trade fair participants and as a reference work for the sector is beyond doubt. In the shape of the iba Marketplace, we offer exhibitors, visitors and media professionals a platform on which they can make optimum preparations for a visit to the trade fair. We critically examined the new tool in our retrospective review, and have already developed ideas for optimization in 2021.

bbi: Mr. Wippler, will the Confederation provide new services to orientate oneself at the trade fair or to obtain an overview, in the context of short seminars, as to what content will be on view regarding specific themes that are of interest to artisans, without it all degenerating into an advertising event?
Wippler: Our aim in 2021 is again to offer visitors an all-round attractive, informative trade fair visit. We are working on this in conjunction with all of our affiliated organizations, e.g. the German Bread Institute (DBI) and the German National Bakers Academy (ADB). From previous years, we know that practical relevance is the most important aspect for our Artisan bakers, and we will also offer that again in the iba.FORUM, with presentations, and in personal exchanges. Many things are already “in the pipeline” in that respect. iba 2021 will also give us an opportunity to talk to “our bakers” about structural reform of the Confederation, through which we will make the organization more effective and distinctly more noticeable.

f2m-bbi-20-02-interview-Michael Wippler

Michael Wippler

bbi: Mr. Wippler, on average, how much time should an Artisan allow for the trade fair, and how much of that time should he or she spend walking through the Halls or taking part in the supporting program?
Wippler: Every day at the iba is a valuable day. How much time each individual wants to invest and has available is an individual, personal decision. I shall be there for five days (laughs).

bbi: Apropos the supporting program – when will it be published, how much of it is reserved for exhibitors’ advertising campaigns, and what share in it does the Confederation have with its own offerings?
Wippler: The supporting program will be designed hand-in-hand with the iba exhibition management and will be communicated from the spring of 2021 onwards. One thing that is already certain today is that exhibitors will (again) have an opportunity to present specialist lectures in the iba.SPEAKERS CORNER. We are endeavoring to find the best possible speakers for these topics.
The multi-faceted supporting program is orientated to visitors’ heterogeneity and internationality, and will offer something for every size of business and for each field of interest. Everyone will get their money’s worth!                             

bbi: Mrs. Kabashi, when will exhibitors’ applications start, and when will you be able to say who and what will be on show? Will exhibitors’ costs per m2 rise?
Kabashi: Application documents will be sent to exhibitors in late February 2020, and as a result we look forward from early March onwards to the many acceptances that have already been verbally announced. We will be able to give specific information about the allocation of space in individual Halls from the fall of this year onwards, and details about content from the spring of 2021. Prices per m2 will be in line with the market and will also be adjusted to take the 2021 inflation rate into account.
Wippler: We are confident that, together with and first and foremost for all protagonists in the baking sector, iba 2021 will again be a complete success and its importance will be confirmed: iba is a worldwide meeting point of unique dimensions for experts at the highest levels of specialist expertise.