With Dr. Fareed Zakaria providing the keynote and 900 or so exhibitors providing shopping and learning opportunities, the Institute of Food Technologists' (IFT) Annual Meeting & Food Expo will be an educational experience for those in the product development community. And for some of those interesting in new processing technologies, as well.
More than 20,000 food science and technology professionals from around the world are expected to attend the event July 13-16 at Chicago's McCormick Place. They will be exposed to the most recent product, ingredient and technology developments and their potential business impact, as well as to trends that are shaping the food & beverage industry.
While food technologists and others involved in R&D and product development are main targets for the show, it also offers experiences for professionals involved in QA/QC, management, marketing, new business development and more – and coming from industry, academia and government.
The event actually opens on Thursday, July 11, with two days of short courses, the July 11 ones focusing on hazard and critical control points (HACCP) training. July 12 opens with a nanoscience workshop and ends in the afternoon with IFT's International Food Nanoscience Conference (separate registrations and fees are required for all these programs).
July 13 continues the nanoscience conference, as well as being a day full of social events and awards. The annual welcome reception is that evening.
The event hits full stride on Sunday, July 14. After some sunrise technical sessions, the general session begins with the 8:30 a.m. keynote by Zakaria, who is host of CNN's Fareed Zakaria GPS, an editor-at-large for Time magazine and a Washington Post columnist. His specialties are thoughtful analysis and the ability to spot economic and political trends. Esquire magazine described him as "the most influential foreign policy adviser of his generation."
Zakaria's international bestseller, The Post-American World, is about the "rise of the rest," analyzing the growth of China, India, Brazil, among others, and what it means for the future. His previous New York Times bestseller, The Future of Freedom, has been translated into more than 20 languages. He was educated at both Yale and Harvard.
Zakaria is expected to address the complex challenges food professionals face in feeding the world, particularly in developing nations, including food waste, food safety, food insecurity and limitations on natural resources.
After some association business following the keynote, the trade show floor will open at noon. Trade show hours are noon-5 p.m. July 14, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. July 15 and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. July 16 (Tuesday), when the annual meeting event closes.
Those days also are full of technical sessions, student poster sessions and a career center.
Scientific sessions will address hot topics in food safety, product development, food health and nutrition, environmental sustainability and novel processing and packaging. Attendees also will have access to special presentations on the expo floor.
Career Center Live brings together food professionals interested in exploring new career opportunities with companies interested in hiring new talent. Job seekers: Bring your resumes. Employers: Bring your job descriptions and a sympathetic ear.
The IFT Cares program is looking for volunteers for Wednesday (July 17) morning to help pack, sort and inspect food donated to the Greater Chicago Food Depository, a member of the Feeding America Network. Please sign up in advance.
Some other special events:
• The annual Beacon Lectures – There are three of them: Catherine Geslain-Laneelle, executive director of the European Food Safety Authority, 4 p.m. July 14; David Robson, head of energy and environmental foresight with the Scottish government, 4 p.m. July 15; Mark Manary, an M.D., professor of pediatrics and director of Global Harvest Alliance, 7 p.m. July 15.
• The IFT Student Assn.'s Fun Run and Walk – 6:15 a.m. on July 15. It will wind through Chicago's Grant Park.
• The Division Connection Networking Event – 5-6:30 p.m. July 15.
And FOOD PROCESSING will be at the show. Stop by our booth (2890) and give us a piece of your mind.
For more information about IFT Annual Meeting and Food Expo (and to register), go to www.am-fe.ift.org.