Baking & Snack - May 2018 - 127
MINDS AND SPACES
The annual IFT meeting and expo seeks to emphasize the science in food.
by Karlee Renkoski
The Institute of Food Technologists (IFT)'s purpose at
each annual meeting is to bring scientific innovation
and knowledge to the food industry. IFT18 will be no
different. In fact, this year's theme affirms the association's goal as "A Matter of Food + Science."
"It really focuses on the important role that science
plays to ensure that our food system is safe, nutritious
and sustainable," said Kelly Fox, senior vice-president,
With an expected 1,200 exhibiting companies and
23,000 attendees, IFT18 will be held July 15-18 at
Chicago's McCormick Place. The meeting kicks off with
ceremonies for IFT's Fellows and Achievement awards
and an opening event reception. On July 16, the exhibit
hall opens and can be accessed until the end of the event.
While attendees have an opportunity to see new faces, new sessions and new ideas at IFT18, what they will
certainly see is a new space. This year, IFT expanded its
expo into the North Hall, which will include the StartUp Alley, the organics pavilion, new exhibitor pavilion
and the on-trend pavilion. The South Hall will house the
China pavilion and food safety pavilion.
On the educational side, IFT18 will offer more than
100 sessions, including a full day on alternative proteins
and a track dedicated to hot topics. IFTNEXT Quick
Fire Sessions, which highlight multiple solutions to
larger problems, made their debut last year and were the
most attended and top-rated discussions. The sessions
give presenters 15 minutes to describe a problem and
solution with a Q&A or suggestions from the audience
Art and science collide in the first IFT18 featured ses-
sion with Dennis Dimick, co-founder of Eyes on Earth:
An Educational Collaborative and former executive
editor for National Geographic. Mr. Dimick explores
humanity's impact on the Earth and its sustainability
through his photography. "His work is thought-provoking," Ms. Fox said. "As a photographer, he provides a nice
contrast and perspective to a scientific speaker while still
addressing core issues in science."
The second featured session is a panel discussion on
the tension between consumer demands and companies
acting responsibly with food. It will be moderated again
this year by Tamar Haspel, a Washington Post columnist.
IFT will also debut a third featured session, the Food
Disruption Challenge, which supports innovative entrepreneurs. Food start-ups entered the challenge in
January, and by the event, judges will narrow the number down to six final contestants. These entrepreneurs
will compete for the $25,000 grand cash prize and a
$5,000 People's Choice award.
Each start-up will be interviewed by Daymond John,
a US presidential ambassador for global entrepreneurship but known nationally as a Shark on ABC's Shark
Tank. In addition to emceeing the challenge, Mr. John
will give his own presentation on entrepreneurship.
IFT also introduced its new app in April, and in it, attendees will find a directory, map and schedule as well as
have the ability to connect with other attendees through
the social feed, vote on the People's Choice award and
get news about events such as the Fun Run + Fitness
fundraiser and educational sessions.
For more information on educational sessions and to
register for IFT18, visit www.iftevent.org.
To accommodate a
growing number of
attendees and exhibitors,
IFT added the North Hall
for the 2018 expo.
www.bakingandsnack.com / May 2018 Baking & Snack 127