IFT 2013 Show Was Second Biggest

The IFT Annual Meeting and Food Expo, held in Chicago July 13–16, was quite a success for the Institute of Food Technologists. With more than 23,500 attendees, this year's event was the second largest in the show's 73-year history (the 1999 event drew just over 24,000).

It looked like every square inch of the south hall of McCormick Place was used. No curtains hiding several hundred feet of unused space in back, and not a lot of lounge areas. There were 1,171 exhibitors, an almost 10 percent increase from last year. The number of international exhibitors was 384 from 35 countries. And the aisles were crowded every day I was there.

More than 100 educational sessions and 1,000+ poster sessions provided information on the latest developments and trends in food science.

While he was a little light on the "food" angle, Fareed Zakaria, author, CNN host and international affairs expert, provided a thought-provoking opening session. He urged an optimistic approach to solving the world’s challenges. The emergence of a world that is less dominated by the West and with more economic growth and scientific and intellectual advances coming from nations like China, India and Brazil, means a greater supply of “human capital” capable of addressing challenges such as feeding an expanding population and dealing with water shortages, he said.

Kenneth Swartzel, a professor in the Food, Bioprocessing and Nutrition Sciences Dept. at North Carolina State University, received the Nicholas Appert Award, IFT’s highest honor, given annually to an IFT member for contributions to the field of food science.

Next year's show will be June 21-24 in New Orleans. Which is always fun.