2005 Worldwide Food Expo Preview

The equipment-heavy Worldwide Food Expo, which combines dairy, food, beverage and meat shows every two years, blows into the Windy City Oct. 26-29.

More than 30,000 attendees and 1,200 food suppliers will descend on the Windy City this October for the world's largest food and beverage processing and manufacturing expo.

Worldwide Food Expo will be Oct. 26-29 at Chicago's McCormick Place convention center. This year's event will feature two co-located shows. The first is the American Meat Institute (AMI) International Meat, Poultry and Seafood Convention and Exposition, with exhibits on the latest technology in processing and packaging equipment, business and processing software, supplies, services and formulations. The Food, Dairy and Beverage Exposition focuses on technology for those categories, including prepared meals, condiments, grocery, frozen food, confections and snacks.

The twin shows draw from more than 100 countries. A registration fee of $125 ($175 after Sept. 16) covers admission to both expos. Organizers also offer help making reservations at one of the 30-plus hotels in Chicago.

Products to be showcased at the Food, Dairy and Beverage Expo include cookers and kettles, refrigeration systems, sanitation equipment and state-of-the-art technology for packaging and filling.

New to the AMI exhibit this year will be the Material Handling and Distribution Pavilion. Organizers call it a "must-see" for plant, operations and distribution managers. The pavilion will feature the latest in robotics, containers, trucks and conveyor systems.

The AMI convention also will provide plenty of educational avenues for industry professionals. More than 75 hours of curriculum are being offered via programs designed by and for industry experts. Topics include consumer trends, business technology, food safety, management and human resources, operations, regulatory issues and more. A few special seminars will focus on emerging trends in the food industry, including RFID technology, packaging trends, and the latest selling tips.

What's more, AMI plans an extra group of seminars, the Meat Industry Research Conference. The day-long conference will be Oct. 25, the day before the main AMI exhibition begins. The conference will begin with a discussion of allergens from three different perspectives: the consumer, the regulator and the plant manager. The conference also will cover opportunities in the fast-growing natural/organic foods market and the latest trends in culinary arts. Two sessions on Wednesday morning will wrap up the conference: one on defending food against bioterrorism and another covering a list of current industry hot topics.

Among the 20-plus categories of products to be showcased at the Food, Dairy and Beverage expo are cookers and kettles, refrigeration systems, sanitation equipment and the latest technology for packaging and filling. Seminars abound, as well. A sampling of topics includes improving plant efficiency, connecting brands to evolving consumers, economic forecasting and business ethics. There also will be tech-specific programming for operations and engineering staff. And on Saturday morning, organizers are planning a special five-hour management course designed specifically for non-managers who recently have been promoted. The course will feature a number of experts in the field discussing the latest management techniques.

Also scheduled around the exposition is educational content for professionals in the dairy industry. The International Dairy Foods Assn. will hold workshops at the nearby Sheraton Chicago Hotel and Towers on Monday and Tuesday morning; a separate registration is required, at www.idfa.org. IDFA will provide certification for dairy professionals on both Monday and Tuesday morning and will hold a day-long seminar on Tuesday looking at environmental solutions for dairy plants.

While you're in Chicago, of course, take some time to enjoy the city. McCormick Place is within walking distance of some of Chicago's biggest attractions, including the Shedd Aquarium, Field Museum (of Natural History) and Adler Planetarium. A little further away, you'll find the Art Institute of Chicago, Millennium Park and the world-famous Magnificent Mile (stretch of Michigan Avenue). The critically acclaimed Blue Man Group will be performing at the Briar Street Theatre, a short trip up Lake Shore Drive from the convention center.

And since you're in Chicago for a food expo, you might as well sample the best the city has to offer. From deep-dish pizza to top-name steakhouses, there's plenty to try.

For more information about World Wide Food Expo, visit www.worldwidefood.com.


Monday, Oct. 24 and Tuesday, Oct. 25
IDFA Dairy programs (Sheraton Hotel)

Wednesday, Oct. 26
7 a.m.-noon: Meat Industry Research Conference
8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.: Educational Program
10-11 a.m.: Sessions
10:30 a.m.-5 p.m.: Exhibit Floor Open
6-7:30 p.m.: IDFA/IAFIS Opening Reception

Thursday, Oct. 27
8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.: Educational Program
10:30 a.m.-5 p.m.: Exhibit Floor Open

Friday, Oct. 28
7 a.m.: AMI Washington Insider Breakfast
8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.: Educational Program
10:30 a.m.-5 p.m.: Exhibit Floor Open
6:30 p.m.: AMI Chairman's Gala

Saturday, Oct. 29
7-11:30 a.m.: Educational Program
10 a.m.-2 p.m.: Exhibit Floor Open

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