PLANO, TX — Although the world has experienced massive change in a pandemic-driven era, much has stayed the same … only intensified. That was a driving factor in launching the Middleby Bakery Expo, a free event set for Oct. 19-21 at Middleby’s Bakery Innovation Center (BIC) in Plano, TX.

“It wasn’t so much that the pandemic has created new trends but accelerated the current trends,” said Mark Salman, president of Middleby Bakery. “It was unavoidable, but we have to catch up. We have to digitize our communication and much of our content, and from the bakers’ perspective, automation has become critical.”

Middleby mark salman

Middleby Bakery president Mark Salman

Take the labor shortage. Before COVID, bakers were highly concerned about a dwindling workforce; today, it’s a critical issue on the verge of crisis.

“Automation is so important when looking at the struggle to find labor,” Salman said. “Without people with the right technical skills, the question goes beyond the return on investment. For many, it’s about not being able to operate the current lines.”


To help bakers see the options in how automation can help, the expo will showcase the latest technology from all Middleby Bakery brands, including Auto-Bake, Baker Thermal Solutions, Burford Corp., Stewart Systems, Hinds-Bock, Scanico, Spooner Vicars, Glimick, Varimixer, Pac Pro Inc. and Sveba Dahlen, with demonstrations and hands-on interactions.

“We have so much to share in terms of innovation, not just with our equipment but with product and recipe development as well,” Salman said.

In looking at how the trends have accelerated in the pandemic, it’s also accelerated innovation for Middleby Bakery, and attendees will experience that firsthand with educational seminars and presentations, as well as hands-on equipment demonstrations.

“Middleby innovation is disruptive,” Salman said. For example, the TurboChef brand was a ground-breaking technology for making baked goods accessible to consumers at quick-service restaurants. “For years, this brand has been innovating in foodservice. When consumers get a croissant at Starbucks heated up in 30 seconds, that’s TurboChef.”

Additionally, the expo will tout technology in vacuum cooling, demonstrated on an AutoBake line.


“We’re going to show our first RackNStack system, where you don’t have to have people moving dollies of pans and can much better utilize your bakery space,” he said. The latest spiral cooling technology will also be on display.

“I was a baker, and I wanted to see things firsthand, like how a loaf of bread looked different out of one mixer or another, or how it was divided differently,” he said. “We’re going to demonstrate all that with specific examples of how using different technology will create specific types of products.”

Although end-to-end solutions from all the company’s bakery equipment brands will be on display in the BIC, the innovation goes beyond Middleby. This event is designed to include elements of the entire industry.

Technology from Shaffer, a Bundy Baking Solution and Gorreri will also be present, in addition to ingredient partners and suppliers of LED lighting technology, energy-use consultants, IoT consultants and more, to address the accelerated trends and increasing needs for commercial bakers in areas including labor, food safety and sustainability.

The experience doesn’t stop at the BIC; events will be held in Middleby’s new state-of-the-art Middleby Innovation Kitchen. In the 35,000-sq-ft space, attendees will experience fun and entertainment as well as finished products that were made in the BIC or Innovation Kitchen.

“Bakers will experience full-line solutions with best-in-class brands,” Salman said. “And, perhaps most importantly, we’re going to have fun.”

The Middleby Bakery Expo is free for bakers and suppliers. To see the full schedule, register to attend or find out how to partner with Middleby for the event, visit the website.