IFT Gathers in the Big Easy

The Institute of Food Technologists will hold its Annual Meeting and IFT Food Expo, the largest annual scientific forum and food technology expo in the world, July 16-20 in New Orleans.
The Ernest N. Morial Convention Center will host approximately 20,000 food scientists, technologists, suppliers, marketers and others to discuss the latest innovations and technology affecting consumers, growers, processors, regulators and researchers.
One thousand experts will provide their insight during more than 100 technical sessions over a range of topics from food safety to new processing methods to the nutritional aspects of new food products. And the IFT Food Expo will feature nearly 800 exhibitors over 250,000 square feet of exhibition space to present the latest ingredients and product development innovations.
Top of mind
Kicking off the convention will be keynote speaker Malcolm Gladwell, author of The Tipping Point, a bestseller that has become a tool to help organizations understand trends. Gladwell’s new book, Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, analyzes intuition and the possibility of improving instincts for better decision-making.
The show will include two Hot Topic sessions: “Top Five Fear Factors” and “Food Science to the Rescue.” During the Fear Factors session on Monday, July 18, industry leaders will discuss and share case studies on volatile influences that have the potential to affect the food and beverage business such as fuel costs, product recalls, food security and terrorism threats.
The second Hot Topic, “Food Science to the Rescue,” to be held the following day, will explore methods to apply food science solutions to public health problems such as obesity. The session will cover ways food scientists, the government and academia can work together to establish clear nutrition recommendations.
The IFT Food Expo will feature several special-topic pavilions such as the Healthy Food Ingredients Pavilion and the Product Development Pavilion. Healthy Foods will give attendees an opportunity to talk with suppliers of nutraceuticals, functional foods, organic foods and natural foods while the IFT/RCA Product Development Pavilion is a partnership between IFT and the Research Chefs Association. They will present a unique, interactive experience with collaborative presentations of “culinary innovation.”
Also in the area of new products will be the New Product Showcase Presentations that will be located on a stage on the Expo floor. The showcase will include educational forums on global new food product trends, emerging flavor trends and overall taste trends. Presentations will include samples and tastings of products. Of particular interest will be the impact of healthy formulation/marketing and nutraceutical/functional foods.
There also will be two New Products Showcase pavilions on the Food Expo floor will feature market research on new food product trends, including global trends.
New to Food Expo this year will be "Taste the Trend" presentations, displaying a series of 12 poster sessions and more than 200 international products. Sponsored by Innova, the pavilion also will feature six video presentations focusing on food for seniors, healthy options, ethnic trends, and beverages of the future.
State of the industry
The new Food Pyramid and nutrition guidelines from the U.S. Department of Agriculture have industry and consumer press abuzz, and on July 19 IFT will hold its first State of the Food Industry event to discuss the changes. Food industry leaders will discuss how manufacturers are adapting their product development strategies to the new Dietary Guidelines for Americans, and they will delve into the challenges of reformulating and processing more nutritious foods while delivering safe and appetizing foods for Americans who are increasingly focused on achieving wellness through the food they eat.
Technically speaking
A number of the more than 100 technical programs at the IFT show will feature topics of interest to beverage manufacturers, including “Innovation in Functional Ingredients;” “The Dawn of RFID: What Have We Learned and Where Are We Going?;” “The Role of Sensory in New Product Innovation;” “Citrus and Flavors;” “The Marketing Function: Why Should I Care?;” “Fermented Foods and Beverages;” “The Glycemic Concept: The Next Wave in Nutrition?;” “Foodservice Industry: Solutions to American’s Obesity Problems?;” “The Fiber Conundrum: Fiber Requirements and the New Fiber Definitions;” and “Organic Foods are Huge in Retail: Why Not in Foodservice?”
Non-technical programs at the show will include “How to Select & Taste Wine Like an Expert,” led by Patrick Dodd, certified wine instructor and director of education and hospitality at E&J Gallo Winery. “Improving Your Project Management Skills: The Basics for Success” will be presented by the American Management Association, and “How Much Is Enough? Think You’ll Live to be 100?” will walk attendees through financial planning for retirement.
On July 20, the International Food Safety & Quality Conference will provide a forum for industry representatives, academia, and government to focus on food safety and quality with special emphasis on global food production. The luncheon speaker will be Robert Tauxe of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Separate registration is required for this event. BI