International Pizza Expo Preview: Focus on Training

March 19-22 marks a spotlight on pizza for business, with a new edition of the International Pizza Expo, held at the Las Vegas Convention Center, Nevada. The trade show has prepared over 80 seminars, demonstrations, panel discussions, and networking events for its attendees.

International Pizza Expo will put buyers who are owners and managers of independent and chain pizza restaurants in touch with manufacturers and service providers to the industry. The organizers evaluate pizza restaurant industry revenues at an estimated USD43bn in annual sales.

To find more about trade show this year, WorldBakers spoke to Bill Oakley, show director at Pizza Expo. “We have grown to a Top 200 show that represents the second largest foodservice show in the U.S. and the only show specifically for Italian and Pizza restaurants,” Okley explains, when we asked to characterize Pizza Expo evolution since its first edition. The Las Vegas trade show took place for the first time in 1985.

Competitions and Education

The exhibition includes a series of trade shows and annual competitions, such as International Pizza Challenge (bake-offs before judges in five divisions, with Pizza Maker of the Year finals); World Pizza Games (skills competition in five divisions).

Other event highlights at Pizza Expo include:

Workshops: School of Pizzeria Management (advanced courses in running a profitable pizza restaurant company); Making Pizzas with Tony Gemignani (in-depth sessions on making starters, dough and pizzas); and Scott’s Las Vegas Pizza Tour (evening bus tour of three outstanding local pizzerias).

Education program: Approximately 90 keynote addresses, seminars, panel discussions and pizzeria menu demonstrations will be held during the event.

“Attendees can experience more than 80 seminars, demonstrations, panel discussions and networking events, as well as more than 500 exhibitors and 1,400 booths,” Oakley adds.

The show director mentions that the pizza business continues to expand and evolve, while fast casual and pizzerias expand the number of styles that they offer. As market trend, Oakley mentions that pepperoni pizza is still big in the USA.

Exhibitors at Pizza Expo 2018

With its four factories in four different cities in Turkey, Ankutsan is one of the leading box manufacturers, exporting to 31 different countries in four different continents. Thanks to its special machinery and full automation system, Ankutsan manufactures pizza boxes at world standards which are untouched until transportation.

BelGioioso introduces 2-pound Stracciatella Cups at Pizza Expo 2018. Stracciatella is shreds of Fresh Mozzarella soaked in sweet cream, and has become increasingly popular as a topping for pizzas, pastas and salads or served as an appetizer with fresh bread and tomato slices.  This cheese is rBST-free (artificial growth hormone that increases milk production), gluten free, vegetarian and crafted to order with fresh local Wisconsin milk, so you received the freshest cheese possible.

Donna Italia, the turnkey, three-minute pizza solution providing food and beverage operators with an authentic, Italian-made pizza experience for their customers, will announce with the occasion of Pizza Expo its official U.S. market launch, as it makes in-roads among some of the industries leading hotels, restaurants and attractions. The fast-growing company’s U.S. launch follows a successful international roll-out that began in 2015 and now spans a presence in thousands of outlets in 13 countries in just two years.

Hobart, a commercial food equipment manufacturer, announced it will again give away a custom-painted Legacy® HL662 Pizza Mixer while attending the 2018 International Pizza Expo in Las Vegas. This year’s mixer will feature a one-of-a-kind design that Hobart will unveil on the first day of the expo.

Peerless Food Equipment announced it will exhibit its Pioneer mixer at the Hobart booth (662) during the International Pizza Expo. Peerless and Hobart are both part of the ITW Food Equipment Group (a division of Illinois Tool Works). Peerless has been a long-time supplier of mixers and dough feeding equipment to larger pizza crust manufacturers, while Hobart serves the commercial market.

Hoshizaki America, Inc. will announce the addition of door and drawer combo cabinets to their refrigerated sandwich top and mega top prep table lineup. Hoshizaki will also introduce the newest icemaker with the KMEdge Design featuring greater energy efficiency, a shorter overall height, and a lower voltage wiring.

Pinnacle Foods’ Food Service Group announced that is launching a year-long initiative with its gardein™ plant-based protein brand in cooperation with the Meatless Monday organization. The goal of the program is to help restaurants and food service operators (companies that provide food to cafeterias, industrial caterers, hospitals and nursing homes) meet consumer demand for more plant-based dishes by providing menu ideas and promotional materials.

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