This summer's Food Expo, July 16-20 in Chicago, will be a different show, because it's no longer just the Institute of Food Technologists' Food Expo. There across the mezzanine in the North Hall of Chicago's McCormick Place will be miles of processing equipment, courtesy of the Food Processing Suppliers Association and its Process Expo.
Both of these shows have long histories. Process Expo has been around in various forms for 100 years. For the past 13 years it was co-located with the Packaging Machinery Manufacturers Institute's Pack Expo, making it a fall show. The association of equipment makers hopes teaming up with IFT will bring new vitality and a food-only focus to their show.
Process Expo expects to have 350 exhibitors taking up 100,000 sq. ft.
The IFT annual meeting and show has been a tradition for 80 years. Although it alternates between Chicago and three coastal locations, the Chicago shows always have been the heaviest draws, packing in 23,000 the last time it was in the Windy City (as compared to 14,500 last year in Anaheim, Calif.).
The IFT Food Expo estimates it will have 760 exhibitors covering better than 200,000 sq. ft. Attendance at the combined shows is expected to be 20,000.
One registration works for both shows. (Register Here)
The event actually begins on Friday, July 16, with a day full of IFT short courses — 10 of them, some of them one-day only, some two days in length. They range from “Food Processing & Packaging for Product Developers” to “Recent Advances in the Development of Grain-Based Products Promoting Health.” Most carry continuing education credits, and all involve charges beyond Food Expo attendance.
Saturday, July 17, has IFT volunteer and social activities, including a career fair and IFT member awards.
The show hits full stride Sunday, July 18, through Tuesday, July 20, with keynote addresses, technical sessions and the show floor.
Each association has its own committee meetings and special events each day. The following pages provide a glimpse of several booths worth visiting during the show.