IFT18: A Matter of Science + Food

July 15–18 | Chicago

Science + food will add up to an annual event sure to be even greater than the sum of its many parts at IFT18, taking place Sunday, July 15, through Wednesday, July 18 at Chicago’s McCormick Place. And there are certainly many parts to IFT’s annual event, where more than 20,000 science of food professionals from around the world will gather to experience featured programming, scientific sessions, and the annual food expo showcasing 1,000+ food industry exhibitors.

In this newsletter — the official preview of the show — you will find more in-depth information on the education programming offered, in addition to some of the new events taking place.

IFTNEXT: Bigger and Bolder Than Before

Last year brought the debut of a new suite of programs championing big, bold ideas and approaches—all under the banner of IFTNEXT. This year’s IFTNEXT programming will deliver even more of that with opportunities to experience thought-provoking presentations, discussions, and demonstrations.

You won’t want to miss the Food Disruption Challenge Pitch Event. Shark Tank’s Daymond John will be hosting the finalists as they pitch their innovative start-ups for a $25,000 cash prize and a $5,000 people’s choice award. The $25,000 prize winner selected by the judges will be named IFT’s Future Food Disruptor of the Year™. The pitch event will take place from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. Tuesday, July 17, in the S100 ballroom of McCormick Place.

In addition to Tuesday’s Food Disruption Challenge, a series of 16 dynamic sessions presented on the IFTNEXT stage in the North Hall will explore topics ranging from drones to data science, blockchain to personalized nutrition and much more. The approach is transdisciplinary, and the focus is future directed.

IFTNEXT is made possible through the generous support of Ingredion, IFT’s Platinum Innovation Sponsor.

Here’s a look at some of the IFTNEXT programming happening at IFT18:

  • Food Disruption Challenge Pitch Event
  • Storytelling: Innovations from the Far Corners of the Developing World
  • The Promise of Digital Olfaction: A Demonstration of the Artificial Nose
  • Utilizing Blockchain for Improved Traceability Panel Discussion
  • Quickfire Discussions: Global Solutions for Food Security
  • Who’s Driving Personalized Nutrition and Why?
  • The Cannabis Lexicon: Popular Slang and Scientific Fact

Get Inspired at Featured Sessions

In addition to the special sessions and events taking place on the IFTNEXT stage, there are two featured sessions planned for IFT18 with the goal of energizing, engaging, and inspiring attendees. The first one, titled “The Human Age: Confronting the Innovation Conundrum” will get underway at 9 a.m. on Monday, July 16, with a presentation by photojournalist Dennis Dimick, executive editor of National Geographic magazine. Dimick, who has guided many major projects over the course of a 35-year career at the magazine, will share some of his photographs of the environment— photographs that explore the impact of human ingenuity and Earth’s ability to sustain it. In addition to his role with National Geographic, Dimick is cofounder of an educational collaborative called Eyes on Earth.

Also on the agenda for the first full day of the annual event is a panel discussion moderated by award-winning Washington Post columnist Tamar Haspel. This featured session, titled “The Clash Between Consumer Demands and Responsible Food,” will begin at 2 p.m. on Monday, July 16. The panelists will engage in a dialogue that explores some of the challenges presented to food companies when the well-intentioned demands of consumers lead to unintended consequences like increased food waste and fossil fuel usage or food safety threats.

Learn more about IFT18’s featured sessions:

  • The Human Age: Confronting the Innovation Conundrum
  • Panel Discussion: The Clash Between Consumer Demands and Responsible Food

Expanded Expo Experience

One exhibit hall isn’t enough to contain all the IFT18 Food Expo excitement—exhibitor booths, cooking demonstrations, educational programming, and more. So this year’s event will occupy two exhibit areas—both the North and South Halls of McCormick Place. The expansion ensures that there is ample space for exhibitors while also providing a home for newer features like the IFTNEXT Start-Up Alley along with longtime favorites like Innova Market Insights’ Taste the Trend Pavilion and Mintel’s Intelligence Zone.

The food expo is the industry’s largest collection of food ingredient, equipment, and services suppliers under one roof. With more than 1,000 companies on hand this summer, the food expo will be the go-to destination for sampling the latest food and beverage prototypes and learning about myriad new products and services related to the science of food and its application. Here’s a look at some of the highlights of this year’s expo:

  • Specialty ingredients shine at IFT18
  • Deep dive into dairy ingredients
  • Coffee and tea move beyond the beverage category
  • Exceeding expectations for food safety and quality
  • Sugar reduction takes center stage
  • Dietary fiber: Good for the gut
  • Showcasing the popularity of proteins
  • Sustainable practices drive packaging solutions

An Abundance of Educational Options

Scientific and applied sessions at the annual event are the cornerstone of IFT’s educational offerings. More than 100 sessions and 800+ technical research (poster) presentations will be on the agenda for IFT18. A stringent peer-review process ensures that session content is relevant and high in quality. Sessions are categorized within a framework of a dozen topical tracks, making it easy for attendees to identify the content that will be of the greatest value to them.

IFT’s online planner can help simplify the planning process, allowing users to create their own customized educational experiences, searching for sessions by key words, speakers’ names, track information, and other options. This year’s new and convenient features syncs your online planner in real-time with the IFT18 Mobile App. Now you can plan and access your experience from any device.

Among the highlights of this year’s scientific program will be a deep dive (eight hours of programming) into the topic of alternative proteins. Over the course of the day on Tuesday, July 17, eight 60-minute sessions in room S403AB will address various aspects of the topic.

Here’s a closer look at some of the highlights of the IFT18 educational programming:

  • ePoster Sessions
  • Alternative Protein Deep Dive
  • Fennema Lectureship and Workshop

Network & Socialize

From celebrations, networking functions, volunteer activities, and the industry’s leading food science-specific recruiting events, you’ll find virtually unlimited opportunities to connect with colleagues while having a great time.

  • Welcome Reception
  • Career Center Live
  • Student competitions, sessions, and social events
  • New Professionals Mixer
  • Division Networking Reception
  • Feeding Tomorrow Virtual Fun Run & Fitness

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