Sustainability took center stage in conversations on the show floor at the International Baking Industry Exposition (IBIE) this year, albeit, in a new way. Historically, conversations around green initiatives focused on ingredient sourcing, energy-efficient equipment or biodegradable packaging materials. In 2022, this topic spilled over into areas other than simply making operations and packaging greener. 

“Sustainability is back in a really big way,” says Dennis Gunnell, IBIE 2022 committee chair and president of Formost Fuji. “For Formost Fuji, the conversation that was being had in our booth around sustainability wasn’t so much ‘how is your equipment going to help us be more sustainable, but what is your company doing to be more sustainable?’ We heard more questions about sustainability in terms of company culture as potential customers look to do business with suppliers with similar values, and I don’t know if I’ve ever gotten that question before.” 

On the ingredient side, questions around sustainability go beyond simply having the right certification, such as the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil for oil ingredients, but also regenerative agriculture for crops like wheat, corn and soy, and humane farming practices around the world for vulnerable crops such as palm and cocoa. Increasingly, baking companies are looking for ingredients that are friendly to the environment and humanity at every level of the process. 

Sustainability is not only becoming more important to prospective customers but also prospective employees. Millennials and Generation Z employees are more interested in working for companies that are aligned with their own personal values. Sustainability is often one of those values in addition to other corporate social responsibility goals.

This article is part of Baking & Snack's ongoing post-show coverage of IBIE 2022. Be on the lookout for the full story in the November issue of Baking & Snack.