The Institute of Food Technologists Annual Meeting and Food Expo, to be held July 28 to Aug. 1 at Chicago’s McCormick Place, may be overwhelming. In a short time frame, visitors from the food industry’s numerous disciplines have an opportunity to see and do much. The challenge is maximizing one’s time when so many opportunities abound.
For those unable to attend this year’s event, Food Business News will publish its post-I.F.T. round-up in the Aug. 7 issue. Readers also may access some of the research abstracts on-line at www.ift.org or purchase the I.F.T.’s Book of Abstracts, which covers all of the research efforts presented at the show.
The heart of the trade show is the I.F.T.’s exposition, which features the industry’s suppliers exhibiting their products and demonstrating their benefits in a variety of food and beverage applications. Association research has revealed 70% of I.F.T. visitors go to the show to find new products. Fifty per cent of the visitors surveyed noted the Expo is the only show they attend.
To help visitors find what they need, expo organizers have separated some areas of the show floor into specialty pavilions. The pavilions this year include:
• Organic food ingredients will feature only U.S. Department of Agriculture-certified organic ingredients.
• The healthy food ingredients area will focus on the emerging market targeting the health and wellness trend.
• The food safety and quality pavilion will showcase instrumentation, services, processing and packaging technologies designed to ensure the safety of food products.
• The international area will include exhibitors capable of distributing products overseas.
Another space on the show floor will include new food product information and be sponsored by Mintel International, Inc., Chicago. Presentations will include information on new products as well as samples. It also will include discussions on "healthy food formulating."
Education opportunities abound
The meeting is also one of the few venues in the U.S. where emerging scientific technologies, and the research behind them, are shared. This year’s scientific program features more than 100 sessions that focus on a range of topics, including roundtable sessions on carbohydrates and translating nutrition science into product development, a recall simulation workshop, advice on adapting to evolving consumer trends, and tips for developing a corporate social responsibility plan (see Food Business News of July 10, Page 48, for a complete listing of scientific sessions).
On Wednesday, Aug. 1, the I.F.T.’s International Division will present "Nanoscale science of food: challenges and opportunities." The day-long meeting will focus on the topic of nanotechnology and its potential applications in food product development. The emergence of the technology is rooted in the ability of researchers to control matter at dimensions as microscopic as 1 to 100 nanometers.
Presentations at the session will include:
• Development of delivery systems that better protect functional ingredients and allow finer control over release of encapsulated compounds.
• Design of high-performance packaging materials with lower oxygen and water permeability and higher mechanical strengths.
• The creation of rapid detection methods and single-molecule sensors that detect changes in food quality and maintain food safety.
• Development of processing technologies used in the production of "nanoscalar" sensors for packaging materials and food ingredients.
Food safety and defense also will be on the agenda Aug. 1 when the I.F.T. presents the "Global food safety and quality conference." The goal of the meeting, which will run from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., will be to assist all management disciplines throughout the food industry in developing practical food defense plans.
All visitors at the meeting will have an opportunity to participate in an interactive demonstration of the Food and Drug Administration’s CARVER + Shock software. The software combines economic and pathway analysis with risk assessment and focuses on the food sector as a system of industrial pathways (i.e., farm-to-table food production efforts, food packaging and transportation systems). It is designed to be used within the food industry to increase awareness of factors that influence food security and encourages the conduct of threat assessments as a way to develop methods to enhance security of food facilities and processes.
For more information about the I.F.T. Annual Meeting and Food Expo as well as pre- and post-show workshops, visit www.ift.org.