Bakery equipment plays an increasingly vital role in the success of your bakery operation. Knowing the limits of your existing equipment – someday, assuredly – can make or break the success of your operation.

Kirk Rossberg of Torrance Bakery, Torrance, California, which is celebrating 40 years in business this year, knows this lesson all too well. When his family-owned bakery opened just prior to Thanksgiving in 1984, their oven broke down, which could have ended their days in business before even getting much off the ground. But their oven manufacturer stepped in and saved the day.

Stories like these are countless in the retail industry. It takes a village – bakers and equipment – to make the ultimate goal of developing a consistent and steady business flow happen.

“Our specialists love to be on the floor helping customers maximize the ability of our equipment. We urge retail bakers to come and run their product at our Reiser Customer Center and to work with our bakery specialists,” says John McIsaac, vice president of strategic business development, Reiser, Canton, Massachusetts. “Together, we’ll develop solutions to optimize your product and maximize your production. Reiser is unique in that we have a dozen bakery specialists on staff to help integrate our machines into our customer’s operation smoothly.”

Versatile solutions

There’s no more important factor than understanding what equipment you need, how to maintain it, and when to replace it.

“It is important for bakers to procure equipment that fits today’s needs and tomorrow’s,” explains McIsaac at Reiser. “Many of our customers make multiple products. We aim to provide versatile equipment that allows the baker to portion all of today’s products and tomorrow’s potential products.”

For example, Reiser’s Vemag HP1B series fits the smaller baker’s need in this regard. An array of attachments allows the baker to easily portion doughs, batters, and fillings to produce all types of breads, cookies, muffins, pies, cakes, gluten-free products, and more, he points out.

“Our Vemag 500B machine handles stiff cookie doughs with inclusions, pie doughs, pizza dough – all on the same machine.  A change of the Vemag’s attachment allows the same machine to sheet brownie or cookie dough with a great pan fill – without the labor, he explains. “Many of our customers add attachments to their Vemag as they grow their business. They come to our Customer Center and try new products, and simply add the attachment to go into production.”

It is exactly this type of symbiotic relationship that makes the retail bakery world go ‘round.

Nate McDermott, director of technical sales, WP Bakery Group USA, illustrates this point by explaining that all of their manuals contain in-depth information about how to properly clean and maintain the machine.

“Following the guidance allows for the safest, most efficient use of the equipment and will give you a long lifespan,” he says. “With a routine preventative maintenance by our certified factory technicians, we can evaluate the machine and help in determining which parts need to be replaced, what needs to be repaired, and when or if it will make the best financial sense to replace the machine.”

At WP Bakery Group USA, he continues, “we can assist our customers at any point in their growth to determine the best possible equipment. With so many options in our product catalog to help bakeries small, large and industrial, we are experts at finding the right size that will meet the current needs of the client. Most important is to give us a clear understanding of the products you want to produce, including the weights of the pieces, the hydration/dough yield and specific details concerning the dough and process. With good data, we can offer the best solution.”

On display

Trade shows including the National Restaurant Association Show in May and the International Dairy Deli Bakery Association convention in June provide valuable avenues for bakers to understand new equipment, new technology, and new capabilities.

At this year's National Restaurant Association Show, RATIONAL showcased the iVario and iCombi, two of its innovative, intelligent cooking systems designed to transform professional kitchens worldwide.

The iVario is known for its precision and versatility, combining the power of multiple cooking systems in one. It allows chefs to boil, fry, and steam with unparalleled efficiency, enhancing kitchen operations and culinary creativity. The iCombi, on the other hand, is a state-of-the-art combi oven that integrates intelligent cooking processes to consistently achieve the highest quality results, increasing efficiency and production.

A special event at the RATIONAL booth featured “May Innovation Inspire with Celebrity Chef Aaron May” on the Sunday of the event.

May demonstrated how RATIONAL's technologies empower his culinary creations during two arena cooking presentations. An interview session followed, providing deeper insights into his experiences and the impact of RATIONAL's innovations on his work.

In addition, RATIONAL is proud to highlight its recent accolades, including the ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year Award and the KI Award, which celebrate the company’s commitment to sustainability and innovation respectively. 

Edible ink printing

Primera Technology, Inc., a leading manufacturer of specialty printing equipment, exhibiting at the National Restaurant Association Show, at McCormick Place in Chicago, where they conducted live demos of their popular Eddie® The Edible Ink Printer.

Eddie is a professional-grade, NSF-certified direct-to-cookie and food printer that uses edible ink to print full-color images, text, and logos onto cookies, candy, macarons, crackers, white chocolate, hamburger buns, donuts, and other food items. Eddie is quickly becoming the best-selling direct-to-food edible ink printer and is used daily by thousands of bakeries, cafes, restaurants, and other businesses globally to create custom and personalized food products.

Mark D. Strobel, Primera Technology’s vice president of sales and marketing, pointed out that the National Restaurant Association Show is a must-attend show for everyone in the food service and restaurant industry, calling it “the perfect opportunity for us to showcase our latest edible ink printing technology to a global audience.”


Professional baker and educator Ciril Hitz points out that replacing equipment is a pivotal strategy in maintaining a smooth and efficient production flow, while mitigating potential disruptions and financial strains in a business.

“There are two primary approaches to this process, each with its distinct advantages,” explains Hitz, a passionate baker, author, and educator with an international reputation and more than 20 years of professional baking and pastry experience.

Firstly, proactive replacement of equipment before it reaches its breaking point is akin to preemptive maintenance. By anticipating when machinery might falter or become obsolete, businesses can strategically schedule replacements during downtimes or maintenance windows. This approach minimizes the risk of unexpected breakdowns disrupting production schedules, thereby ensuring seamless operations without the costly repercussions of missed shifts or lost sales. Essentially, it's akin to changing the tires on a car before they blow out, ensuring a safer journey ahead.

On the other hand, there's wisdom in patiently accumulating funds to afford outright equipment purchases, Hitz explains. This financial prudence alleviates the strain of sudden expenses and avoids the pitfalls of relying on credit or loans, which can burden a business with interest payments and long-term financial commitments. By diligently setting aside resources for equipment replacement, businesses can maintain their financial health and stability, fostering a sense of preparedness and resilience in the face of economic uncertainties.

Moreover, adopting a proactive stance towards equipment replacement fosters a culture of foresight and efficiency within the organization. It demonstrates a commitment to staying ahead of technological advancements and industry standards, thereby positioning the business for sustained growth and competitiveness in the market.

“In essence, the strategic replacement of equipment represents a delicate balance between operational continuity and fiscal responsibility,” Hitz says. “By embracing both proactive maintenance and prudent financial planning, businesses can navigate the dynamic landscape of modern industry with confidence and agility, ensuring their long-term success and viability.”

Important guidelines

Carolyn Bilger, marketing director, Hobart, points out a simple – but often challenging to execute on a day-to-to-day basis – guideline to follow.

“It can’t be emphasized enough how important training is in any bakery. Having staff who know how to operate equipment properly can improve productivity and protect it from damage,” she explains.

When it comes to commercial mixers, it’s important to consider what and how much you will be mixing, Bilger offers as an example.

Purchasing a smaller mixer may be tempting from an upfront cost perspective; however, it can easily be overtaxed if it does not provide enough capacity. That can lead to additional costs for repairs and poor performance.

Think about your current needs and future growth. A larger mixer can often provide better performance with long-term savings.

“A 60-quart mixer, like a Hobart® Legacy+® HL600 is a good choice for a small- to medium-sized bakery, while larger ones may want to consider a 140-quart mixer, like a Legacy+ HL1400. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for routine maintenance,” Bilger explains.


Budgeting is the first step to achieving long-term success, points out Austin Archdeacon, operations, Erika Record Baking Equipment.

“Budgeting for equipment is paramount. What are best-case methods for budgeting when to add and/or replace your bakery equipment? This is always a difficult question to answer,” he says, “because all customers have different financial situations.”

Something that can’t be stressed enough is the search for quality and available support, Archdeacon says.

“Often the lowest price items come with lower than desired after-sales support including an inability to find anyone that supports the machine or where to even acquire parts.

If you are planning on replacing or upgrading a piece of equipment, target a relatively slow time period as a the install date, and work backwards with your equipment supplier to build in setup and installation (if necessary), lead time and delivery, and any equipment discovery that may be required.  Often customers are looking for equipment when it is already too late to meet their timing requirements.

What you need

Tim Levin, marketing manager, Empire Bakery Equipment, stresses this vital point in the ultimate success of any retail bakery business.

“There’s no more important factor than understanding what equipment you need,” he says. “For more than 45 years, Empire has been helping build new bakeries and grow existing ones. Our experts understand what it takes to equip a bakery for success.”

When it comes to understanding the equipment you will need, there are a variety of factors to consider, he illustrates.

  • The type of products you will be producing
  • Quality
  • Capacity
  • Space efficiency
  • Energy efficiency

“These are all important factors to consider when looking into the equipment needed to help ensure your bakery is a successful one,” Levin says. “Ideally, you will be looking into equipment that can help simplify your bakery processes and ensure the highest quality products are produced. Finding a piece of equipment that produces quality products, increases production, is energy-efficient and fits in your limited bakery space may seem like a lot to ask for in a machine, but they exist.”

For instance, he points out, “take our Minitube Stone Hearth Deck Oven for example. A multi-deck oven with a minimal footprint that bakes perfect artisan breads while saving you up to 75% on your fuel bill.”

Most equipment is built to be extremely durable and made from easy to clean materials, Levin explains. It just takes some diligence on your part to maintain your equipment properly.

Thoroughly cleaning the machine after use and performing regular maintenance checks will ensure the longevity of your equipment.

It is also important to keep spare parts for your machines on hand, he adds, in case of an emergency where a part needed to be replaced. “For those emergency parts needs, Empire has a 24/7 parts department dedicated to limiting the downtime of your machines and getting you back up and running.”

Choosing equipment that is high quality, durable and enables you to optimize equipment performance, minimize downtime, and maximize efficiency – ultimately contributing to the success and sustainability of your business, Levin explains.

Environmental honors

Environmental protection plays an integral role in the success of bakery equipment, as well.

ITW Food Equipment Group has received the 2024 ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year — Sustained Excellence award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The Sustained Excellence award is the highest honor among ENERGY STAR awards. This year marks the 17th consecutive year ITW Food Equipment Group has been recognized as an ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year and 15th consecutive year receiving the Sustained Excellence award.

“The development of energy-efficient products is an absolute priority for our brands – Hobart, Traulsen, Vulcan, Wolf, Baxter and Stero – and we are honored to be recognized again for our initiatives,” said Todd Blair, director of marketing, ITW Food Equipment Group. “We are committed to manufacturing more efficient commercial kitchen equipment for foodservice and food retail professionals, so they can have peace of mind knowing they are using equipment that decreases impact on the environment as well as improving their bottom line.”

Each year, the ENERGY STAR program honors a select group of businesses and organizations that have made outstanding contributions in the transition to a clean energy economy.

In 2023, ITW Food Equipment Group offered 374 ENERGY STAR-certified products as part of its continued focus on developing next-generation, energy-efficient equipment and making efficiency improvements at its manufacturing facilities.

The ITW Food Equipment Group brands list the following additional 2023 key accomplishments in the manufacturing of its energy-efficient equipment and technology.

Hobart saw a 5% increase in eligible ENERGY STAR dishwasher models and an 11% increase in sales, primarily due to its Advansys™ series dish machines.

Vulcan launched its new QuickFry™ fryer series designed to support high productivity and profitability while increasing energy efficiency.

Baxter introduced its next generation OV520G2 rack oven, featuring a new Smart Touch™ controller that provides more flexibility to manage the oven’s energy consumption.

Traulsen received recognition for using 100% zero emission energy sources at its facility. This included 33% solar energy, 33% hydroelectric energy and 34% wind energy.

The EPA presents the Sustained Excellence Award to partners who have already received ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year recognition for a minimum of two consecutive years and have gone above and beyond the criteria needed to qualify for recognition.

ITW Food Equipment Group LLC, a subsidiary of Illinois Tool Works, is the brand behind the brands found in commercial kitchens, cafeterias, bakeries, delis and groceries around the world. An ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year since 2008, ITW Food Equipment Group embodies a family of premium brands including Hobart, Traulsen, Baxter, Vulcan, Wolf, Berkel, Stero, Somat, Gaylord and Kairak.

ENERGY STAR® is the government-backed symbol for energy efficiency, providing simple, credible, and unbiased information that consumers and businesses rely on to make well-informed decisions. Since 1992, ENERGY STAR and its partners helped American families and businesses avoid more than $500 billion in energy costs and achieve more than 4 billion metric tons of greenhouse gas reductions.

Consumer evaluations

How do consumers evaluate your products? With the Sensobus Puratos goes looking for the answer to this question. As a fully equipped sensory analysis lab on wheels, the Sensobus can travel to any consumer shopping destination to interview up to 300 potential customers per day. 

Designed to find out how consumers evaluate products and shed light on their preferences, the Sensobus helps bring you that one step further to help translate these preferences into business opportunities.

Puratos brings further analytics to the table with important consumer research that is designed to deliver trend-worthy answers.

“By monitoring emerging trend signals and predicting their growth trajectories, we are able to gain insight into the future of our industry,” says Jaina Wald, vice president marketing, Puratos USA. “Our goal is to remain at the forefront of innovation and ensure that our partners and clients stay ahead of the curve. By understanding consumer needs, motivations, moments and narratives, Puratos delivers a holistic understanding of the current landscape and envisions the future of food.”

Trends that will shape the future of bakery, patisserie and chocolate in North America include the following:

The “Tech-Inspired” Revolution: Embracing Innovation and Craftsmanship

North America’s food landscape is undergoing an astonishing transformation through the “tech-inspired” revolution. The region’s fastest-growing trend, captivating both consumers and professionals seeking to harmonize traditional craftmanship and cutting-edge technology is manifesting in the use of AI-powered generation and 3D printing.

In addition to AI technologies influencing recipe generation, one in three consumers believe that AI will help them make better food choices.

“Classics Continued” and “Fusion Flavors”

Puratos research found that more than half (69%) of the North American consumers polled are looking for nostalgic, familiar culinary experiences. Another 64% of respondents are interested in experimenting with food presented in new ways.

The “Gut Feeling” Trend

A substantial 76% of North American consumers recognize the essential role of improving gut health for overall health – from a boost in immunity to enhanced mental well-being. In fact, 66% express interest in food products designed to enhance and enrich gut health.

“This striking interest in gut health among North American consumers is translating into a demand for multipurpose gut-friendly foods that offer holistic health benefits and enhanced energy,” said Wald.

This increased focus on gut health has prompted a surge in demand for bakery, sweet goods, and chocolate products infused with probiotics, prebiotics, and fiber. Eighty-four percent of North American consumers acknowledge the positive effect of fiber on digestion.

Sourdough emerges as an unwavering symbol of this trend, holding its position as one of the most popular goods in this category among consumers. Sourdough fermented bread stands out for its superior digestibility, a result of its extended fermentation process. This slow fermentation unlocks an array of advantages: increased release of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids, contributing to an overall enhanced nutritional content.

Gut health is important to a growing number of people, but taste is important too. Puratos’ 100% whole wheat organic sourdough, Sapore Lore, offers a combination of elevated taste and the benefits of a fermented sourdough.

Plant Forward: Cultivating a Greener Indulgence

The "plant forward" movement emerges as a prominent and compelling subject of online discussions in North America, underscoring a transformative evolution in people's dietary preferences. In this era of heightened consciousness, consumers have become acutely aware of the profound ripple effect their food choices can create on the environment. The surge of interest in plant-based options echoes this growing realization, with nearly half (44%) of individuals perceiving plant-based foods as a natural choice. 

In North America, 53% of consumers recognize the positive impact that pant-based choices have on the environment. Another 46% believe plant-based offerings both cater to their well-being and are a healthier choice than animal-based products.