Insight and ideas at IFT '09

by Keith Nunes
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The Institute of Food Technologists will hold its Annual Meeting and Food Expo June 6-9 at the Anaheim (Calif.) Convention Center. A staple of the industry for many years, this year the I.F.T. planning committee added several new programs to the event’s agenda in an effort to broaden its appeal. Most notably, conference organizers have added several business-oriented events to what traditionally has been a science- and technology-driven agenda.

For example, economic experts Todd Buchholz and Jeffrey Rosensweig will discuss the economic and policy issues affecting the food industry during the I.F.T.’s keynote session on June 7. Mr. Buchholz is author of "Market Shock: 9 Economic and Social Upheavals that Will Shake our Financial Future." He is a former economics teacher at Harvard University and former White House economic policy director. Mr. Rosensweig is director of the Global Perspectives Program and professor of international business and finance at the Goizueta Business School of Emory University. He is also author of the book "Winning the Global Game: A Strategy for Linking People and Profits."

The keynote session panel will outline what companies may do to maintain their position and prepare for success in the rapidly changing economic and political environment. The session will be moderated by Mary Wagner, general manager and chief technology officer of Mars Botanical, and Jean Kinsey, a professor in the department of applied economics at the University of Minnesota and director of The Food Industry Center.

Climate change will be the topic of the I.F.T.’s general session on June 8. A panel will feature executives from PepsiCo, Inc., Unilever, Costco Wholesale Corp. and Cargill sharing their insights into how they see the issue of climate change affecting their businesses. Specific topics to be addressed include the demand for locally-sourced food and beverage products, sustainability and the growing concern about the safety of imported ingredients.

"The New Value Equation" is the topic of the general session scheduled for June 9. The current economic downturn requires food companies to develop an understanding of consumers’ new behaviors around the topic of value and how they will shape the future. While recent data indicate healthy foods are holding their own in a tight economy, how are consumers defining value in the health arena and what categories, drivers, and concerns will influence future product purchases? Lastly, how can restaurants — reeling from cutbacks on visits and challenged by patron’s concern about value — create a sustainable comeback in the years ahead? A panel of trend experts will address value and how customers are redefining the subject today and in the future.

This year’s I.F.T. also will feature an Intellectual Property Exchange (IPEX). The session is designed to bring innovators and companies seeking new ideas or new solutions to old problems together. There will be several presentations made during the session and they will be followed by a networking session featuring posters and tabletop exhibits.

The IPEX idea is in line with the open innovation trend that has emerged among several food and beverage companies, most notably Kraft Foods Inc. and General Mills, Inc. The programs have been designed to help companies develop joint ventures, engage in technology and equity licensing, source finished products, and work to solve technical problems.

New to the Food Expo

During the hours that the exposition is open, the I.F.T. will present Exhibitor Spotlight Presentations in the Exhibitor Spotlight Theater in Hall D of the convention center. The presentations will be 45-minute product presentations from a select group of suppliers. Visit for more information and an agenda of speakers.

The I.F.T. also will once again honor industry ingenuity and achievement by exhibiting companies with the 2009 I.F.T. Food Expo Innovation awards. The awards will honor products, technologies, ingredients, instrumentation, equipment, or services commercially introduced since Jan. 1, 2008. Winning entries will be announced prior to the opening of the exhibit floor at the 2009 I.F.T. Food Expo on June 7.

New to this year’s I.F.T. Food Expo will be an opportunity to see presentations by the winners of this year’s Food Expo Innovation Awards. The session will be held on June 7 at 3:00 p.m. in the Supplier Solution Session Theater in Hall D on the show floor.

The I.F.T. and the Research Chefs

Association also are putting a new twist on the traditional I.F.T./R.C.A. "Culinology" presentations. Visitors will have an opportunity to attend a panel discussion of R.&D. professionals who will discuss how they maintain an "artisan sensibility" throughout the process of product development and manufacturing.

Industry members interested in a specific industry topic should investigate the I.F.T.’s new Trend Tours on the expo floor. The tours are self-guided efforts that will lead visitors to the booths of companies that offer products or services related to major issues or trends facing the food industry. Trend Tour topics this year will include flavor and color innovation; ingredients for functional food; naturally sourced ingredients and weight management. Maps for each of the tours will be available at the entrances to the Food Expo, according to the I.F.T.

Specialty pavilions abound

For visitors with specific topics in mind, the exposition floor will feature specialty pavilions devoted to a variety of trends, including:

•, Food safety and quality: A collection of companies providing instrumentation, services, processing, and packaging technologies to ensure food safety.

• Global new product trends: Sponsored by Mintel International, the Chicago-based market and trend research company, the pavilion will feature a variety of researchers from Mintel discussing the latest trends affecting the food and beverage industry.

• Healthy food ingredients: The pavilion will bring together suppliers of nutraceutical and functional ingredients.

• International: A collection of vendors with the capacity to do business overseas.

• Sustainability: The sustainability pavilion is new this year and will highlight companies that provide services to assist food companies in meeting the growing demand for sustainability in their operations. The pavilion will showcase the latest trends and best practices surrounding sustainability.

• Taste the trend: This pavilion, sponsored by Innova Market Insight, will feature more than 25 presentations on topics such as health and wellness, emerging ingredients and health claims.

For more information about the Institute of Food Technologists’ Annual Meeting and Food Expo, visit or call (312) 782-8424.

Schedule at a glance

Friday, June 5

8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Pre-Annual Meeting Short Courses


Saturday, June 6

8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. I.F.T. International Food Nanoscience Conference

8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Pre-Annual Meeting Short Courses

12:00 – 5:00 p.m. I.F.T. Career Fair

12:30 – 4:30 p.m. I.F.T. Cares Second Harvest Volunteer Activity

5:30 – 6:45 p.m. Awards Celebration

7:00 – 8:30 p.m. Networking Reception


Sunday, June 7

7:00 – 8:00 a.m. Sunrise Sessions

8:15 – 9:45 a.m. Scientific Sessions

10:00 – 11:45 a.m. Keynote Session

12:00 – 2:00 p.m. Poster Sessions

12:00 – 5:00 p.m. Food Expo

1:30 – 3:00 p.m. Scientific Sessions

3:00 – 4:00 p.m. Food Expo Innovation Award Session

3:00 – 5:00 p.m. Poster Sessions

3:00 – 5:00 p.m. "Taste for Science" Reception

4:00 – 5:30 p.m. Town Hall Meeting


Monday, June 8

6:30 – 7:30 a.m. I.F.T.S.A. & I.F.T. Foundation Fun Run 2009

8:30 – 10:00 a.m. Scientific Sessions

8:30 – 10:00 a.m. Theme General Session

10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Scientific Sessions

11:00 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. Poster Sessions

1:30 – 3:00 p.m. Scientific Sessions

2:30 – 5:00 p.m. Poster Sessions

3:00 – 5:00 p.m. "Taste for Science" Reception

7:00 – 11:00 p.m. I.F.T.S.A. Welcome Assembly and College Bowl Competition


Tuesday, June 9

7:00 – 8:00 a.m. Sunrise Sessions

8:30 – 10:00 a.m. Scientific Sessions

8:30 – 10:00 a.m. Trend Panel

10:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Poster Sessions

10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Food Expo

10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Scientific Sessions

1:15 – 2:45 p.m. Scientific Sessions

1:30 – 4:00 p.m. Poster Sessions


Wednesday, June 10

7:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. I.F.T. Global Food Safety & Quality Conference

Pre- and post-meeting conferences


June 5-6

• Descriptive analysis in sensory evaluation

• Food science basics

• Ingredient applications for product innovation and consumer health

• Labeling requirements and implication for foods marketed in the U.S.

• Microencapsulation in food ingredient applications

• Safety and vulnerabilities of domestic and imported ingredients

• Capitalizing on India’s global competitiveness and agri-food sector


June 6

• Foundational skills for technical professionals: How to be an effective influencer

• Teaching food science and food engineering through case studies

• I.F.T. international food nanoscience conference


June 10

• I.F.T. global food safety and quality conference


This article can also be found in the digital edition of Food Business News, May 12, 2009, starting on Page 37. Click here to search that archive.

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