The Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), Chicago, announced its annual event will return both in-person and online with a new and improved lineup of content and programming. IFT FIRST: Annual Event & Expo, whose updated brand is an acronym for Food Improved by Research, Science and Technology, will take place July 10-13 at McCormick Place in Chicago. It will bring together the science of food community to solve food-centric challenges and spark innovation to benefit the global population for years to come. More than 18,000 people are expected to attend the in-person event, along with nearly 2,000 expo booths.

The theme of this year’s event ― Hacking the Food Supply: Can We Synthesize a More Sustainable Future? ― will explore potential promises and pitfalls in hacking the future of food. IFT FIRST’s programming will center on how the following areas of the global food system contribute to a more sustainable future: novel technology and innovation, sustainability, heath and nutrition, food safety, and consumer insights and education.


IFT FIRST: Annual Event & Expo
Logo courtesy of IFT


“After shifting the IFT annual event and expo online for the last two years, IFT will welcome the science of food community back to Chicago this July with a dynamic and highly engaging in-person experience unlike any prior event,” said IFT CEO Christie Tarantino-Dean in a statement. “This year, IFT FIRST attendees can expect a fully integrated experience with reimagined scientific programming, discussions focused on the business behind food and the future of food, as well as exciting networking and engagement activities. Additionally, the event will feature both live and virtual offerings to ensure that travel or other limitations do not prevent attendees from being able to connect, learn, and innovate.”

Attendees can expect more discussions and less lectures, more debate with shorter sessions, and new formats in Science FIRST, while the Business FIRST stage will feature experts from academia, finance, industry, and government to explore potential advantages and limitations of cutting-edge innovations in food.

In efforts to ensure the safety of all attendees, IFT has partnered with Epistemix ― a third-party modeling system that predicts the progression of potential disease outbreaks ― to help determine the necessary protocols to implement at the event based on expected attendee risk levels.