Celebrating 100 years of service

1918      In September 1918, at the Hotel Sherman in Chicago, George E. Dean and others joined forces to organize BEMA to help with the WWI war effort.

1920      The first Baking Expo took place in 1920 in Atlantic City, NJ. Its purpose was to showcase the products of bakery equipment manufacturers and suppliers.

1942      BEMA purchased thousands of dollars in War Bonds and encouraged its members to purchase bonds and freeze equipment prices to support the war effort.

1948      BEMA’s Technical Committee was created in 1948 to study federal, state and municipal sanitation regulations for baking machinery.

1949      The Technical Committee established the first sanitation codes for BEMA members. In 1949 BEMA, along with allied organizations, helped form the Baking Industry Sanitation Standards Committee whose purpose is to develop and promote sanitation standards for bakery equipment.

1949      BEMA invited the American Bakers Association to co-sponsor the Baking Expo with BEMA. It was a natural partnership with BEMA members as exhibitors and ABA members as attendees. BEMA and the ABA open the IBIE with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

1951      At the request of the U.S. Government, BEMA, representing the baking industry, formed along with other industries, the National Defense Preparedness Committee, to determine the nation’s metal requirements for every industry. BEMA was first to submit its report to the federal government.

1955      The first Bakery Equipment Guide was distributed at the 1955 Bakery Expo. Over 13,000 attendees viewed the first continuous mixing systems of bread production.

1967      California Governor Ronald Reagan keynoted the Bakery Expo, where automation of production equipment and new packaging and labeling machines were featured.

1970      BEMA threw its support behind the passage of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and the Workmen’s Compensation Act. These acts passed Congress, were signed by the President and are still in force today.

1979      BEMA began donating funds to the industry. The first monetary contribution was made to the American Institute of Baking.

1981      The Baking Expo was renamed the International Baking Industry Exposition (IBIE). The total number of foreign exhibitors doubled and foreign attendance comprised more than 20% of all attendees.

1984      BEMA launched its “Warning Label” program featuring different labels equipment manufacturers could display on their products.

1991       BEMA transferred the warning label program to the AIB and it was incorporated into their safety program.

1992      BEMA’s membership exceeded 100 members.

1995      BEMA launched BEMATech, an all-industry technology conference, and small trade show, in conjunction with NAFEM ’95. The show proved to be a success and was followed with an even bigger BEMATech 97.

2000     BEMA opened up membership to all suppliers and changed its logo to reflect that decision.

2001      IBIE and  BEMA distributed the newly renamed Bakery Equipment, Product and Service Guide. The guide identifies BEMA suppliers and the products and services they provide.

2002      BEMA’s membership exceeded 200 members.

2002      BEMA dissolved BEMATech in favor of holding the International Baking Industry Exposition (IBIE) every three years.

2005      BEMA’s offices moved from Chicago (Wilmette, IL) to Kansas City (Overland Park, KS.)

2009      BEMA along with other industry associations, develop the Sanitary Design Workshop emphasizing the importance of sanitary equipment and process design.

2010      IBIE returned to Las Vegas with record attendance.

2011      BEMA joined forces with ABA and AIB to fund the rewrite the BISSC/ANSI Z50.2 standards

2014      BEMA-U launched as a response to member feedback.  BEMA-U provides turn-key training opportunities for member education.

2015      The first BEMA Connect was held at Convention creating a new way for suppliers and bakers to connect.  The first year yielded 120 business meetings in just two hours.

2016      BEMA reveals a new look focusing on the many ways BEMA and its members add value to the industry.

2018      BEMA celebrates its 100th anniversary at the Field Museum in Chicago, IL by hosting a black-tie Gala for  members, industry partners and friends.

2020      BEMA hosts its first virtual Convention as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.