IBIE – Navigating Together Through Uncertainty

In this IBIE blog post, Emily Bowers, the Senior Director of Education & Operations at BEMA offers insights on “Navigating Together Through Uncertainty.”  BEMA (Bakery Equipment Manufacturers & Allieds), is a  co-sponsor of IBIE, along with the American Baker’s Association and Retail Bakers of America.

Last year, many of us walked away from IBIE 2019 armed with a bigger viewpoint and a broader concept of new ways to work together in the global grain-based foods industry. As 2019 wrapped and 2020 began, we sought new ways to put this wisdom into action. Yet no one expected how quickly we’d put our assumptions and learnings to the test when faced with the changes and challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.


Seemingly overnight, stripped grocery store shelves demonstrated just how important the food industry, and baking, is to consumers. No planned marketing campaign could match the outpouring of need and desire for products produced by the industry as consumers responded to stay-in-place orders. When shoppers couldn’t find what they wanted in-store or online, they looked for ways to make their own, driving a 600% increase in baking ingredients such a yeast and making flour almost as scarce as toilet paper.

To keep up with incredible demand, many manufacturers switched to round-the-clock production. The unprecedented demands included responding to new levels of social responsibility, safety and sanitation, and a need to adjust to the evolving needs of customers and employees. Manufacturers demonstrated extreme flexibility to create, adjust, and re-work projects and policies to accommodate new demands while supporting front-line employees with increased pay, safety, and enhanced communication.

To read the rest of the story, please go to: International Baking Industry Exposition