PALOS VERDES, CA — As the NEXUS conference nears and IBIE exhibit space fills, BEMA shared event updates during its annual convention, held June 28-July 2 in Palos Verdes, CA.

After a successful inaugural year, NEXUS 2024, powered by BEMA and the American Bakers Association (ABA), will take place Oct. 1-3 in Washington, DC. The event’s format is designed to enable deeper experiences than what large tradeshows and conventions can offer and includes education, networking and team-to-team interactions between bakers and suppliers.

“When you think about conventions, we’re all usually doing the same thing at the same time,” said Emily Bowers, VP of education and operations for BEMA. “NEXUS is not like that. We bring everyone together for things like a keynote and a networking luncheon, but outside of those times, you’re able to sort of chart your own path.”

To enable attendees such flexibility, education sessions will repeat over two days. Four education areas include manufacturing and operations, including topics such as sanitation, maintenance and smart manufacturing; professional development, covering topics like leadership management; industry trends including BEMA Intel and ABA policy updates; and education specific to partner organizations covering a variety of topics.

Industry partners and other associations are also invited to host meetings during the event.


Signature events return to NEXUS

Additionally, ABA’s NextGen Baker Leadership Forum will be co-located with NEXUS and is set to take place prior to the conference’s kickoff. It requires a separate registration and also offers an early-bird registration discount.

Also returning are Spark Sessions, the signature feature of NEXUS. Suppliers can purchase 45-minute sessions and will be strategically matched with a participating baking company. Spark Sessions are designed for team-to-team interaction, so while NEXUS and NextGen Baker registrations are individual, Spark Sessions require one company registration at the time of purchase. That said, every Spark Session attendee — bakers and suppliers — must be a registered NEXUS attendee.

A new component is the opportunity to purchase one of five available Spark Supplier Suites to host additional meetings or continue conversations from Spark Sessions. 

“Last year, some people said, ‘I would have liked more than 45 minutes for a meeting,’” Bowers said. “Now, five suppliers will be able to do that in the suites. They’ll have a schedule of times that will be open for them to schedule any additional meetings with bakers they want.”


IBIE updates for exhibitors and attendees

NEXUS happens in the off years from the International Baking Industry Exposition (IBIE), which is co-owned by BEMA and ABA. With registration for IBIE 2025 opening Sept. 18, NEXUS will serve as a precursor to the industry’s largest tradeshow in the Western Hemisphere.

During BEMA’s convention, Allen Wright, VP at Hansaloy and vice chair of the IBIE planning committee, gave an update on what’s happening with planning the show, which will take place Sept. 13-17 at the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC).

“IBIE is the lifeblood of what goes on within our industry,” Wright said. “It’s hugely important to all of us in the industry. It’s where we get together from both baker and vendor sides, and it’s the place to be every three years.”

The primary objective for IBIE attendees is to discover what new products are available to help them run their bakeries, and exhibitors are ready to show off their technology and services. Booth sales have already exceeded the show’s forecasts; in fact, after two rounds of booth selection, exhibitor space is more than 90% sold out.

Wright indicated there is still space available in the North Hall for any supplier companies still on the fence about exhibiting, but the West Hall, which opened at the LVCC in 2022, is sold out.

In addition to booth space, the halls will feature new and returning show features and stages, as well as the new Snack Pavilion and new Pet Food Pavilion, both situated in the West Hall.


IBIE resources available now

Whether exhibitors are seasoned veterans or new to the show, IBIE has several resources available to help them navigate their experience.

“If you need to find out what to do or how things work, there are plenty of tools on the website to understand how the process works and how to be successful at IBIE,” Wright said.

The site’s Exhibitor Resource Center will soon post the IBIE exhibitor manual, and the show will host an in-person exhibitor briefing Jan. 22 in Las Vegas to go over all the specifics that exhibitors will need to know about the show.

“We’ll have a number of people from the show at that meeting,” Wright said. “Not only will the planning committee be there, but we’ll also have several people representing all the behind-the-scenes to help you navigate how everything will work.”

While attendee registration opens in September, housing reservations are currently available through OnPeak, IBIE’s official housing partner. Wright emphasized the importance of booking hotel rooms through OnPeak.

“The discounts, convenience and reliability of booking with OnPeak are beneficial for attendees and exhibitors,” he said. “Essentially every hotel you can think of in Las Vegas is represented in the OnPeak selections and exhibitors can earn additional priority points too.”

Wright also encouraged exhibitors to book their hotels in advance. The site offers easy group bookings and reservation flexibility.

“Many people have already jumped in, so if you don’t have hotel rooms at this point, it’s critical for you to book now,” he added.

Housing information is located on the IBIE website, as well as a host of other information for attendees and exhibitors as it becomes available.