The Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), is headed back to McCormick Place in Chicago for its FT FIRST: Annual Event and Expo, which is being held July 14-17. The nonprofit scientific organization with global members spanning academia, government and industry, will welcome keynotes and featured sessions to discuss ultra-processed foods, artificial intelligence (AI), food as medicine and the future of the FDA. This year’s program will focus on addressing some of the top food issues including food insecurity and climate change.

“We need an all-hands-on-deck approach to conquer the many challenges facing our food system today and in the future,” said IFT CEO Christie Tarantino-Dean in a statement. “Representing key regulatory agencies, disruptive consumer and B2B businesses, and innovative initiatives, the keynoters and speakers at IFT FIRST are at the cutting-edge of several facets of our global food system. IFT is excited to welcome these leaders to our event so they can share their indispensable knowledge, insights, and ideas with the IFT community.”

Justin Honaman, head of worldwide retail and consumer goods go-to-market at Amazon/AWS, along with Nora Khaldi, founder and CEO at biotech company Nuritas, and Asch Harwood, vice president of data and insights at ReFED, will deliver the opening keynote address on “Revolutionizing Food Innovation Through AI.”

Honaman, Khaldi, and Harwood will enlighten IFT FIRST attendees on the synergies between AI-driven innovation and the global science of food community. The keynote, which will take place from 8:15 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. CDT on July 15, will reveal groundbreaking advancements in predictive analytics, precision engineering, biotechnology and product development, all while exploring the future of a technology that has the power to revolutionize the global food system.

IFT FIRST (Food Improved by Research, Science, and Technology), will feature more than 1,000 exhibitors offering the latest in ingredients, food and food tech trends, food tastings, and exposure to global innovations in food. More than 17,000 attendees from around the world also can experience more than 100 Science FIRST sessions and multi-disciplinary discussions focused on groundbreaking scientific research and solutions in novel technology and innovation, health and nutrition, sustainability and climate, food safety, and consumer insights and education. Meanwhile, popular attractions such as the Startup Pavilion with The Pitch, The Innovation Lab, and the Braindate Lounge will return.