IFT reunites the food science community in-person at its rebranded FIRST: Annual Event & Expo | 2022-04-21

Amanda Gerla

After two years of virtual events, the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) brings the food science community back together in-person with its newly rebranded annual meeting and expo, IFT FIRST: Annual Event & Expo. The event will take place July 10-13 at McCormick Place in Chicago. FIRST will be a hybrid event with online features. IFT expects 18,000 people to attend the event with nearly 2,000 exhibitors at the expo.

“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 Christie Tarantino-Dean, chief executive officer of IFT. “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.”

IFT continues its commitment to science as a path forward to sustainable food with this year’s event theme, which is Hacking the Food Supply: Can We Synthesize a More Sustainable Future? The theme falls in line with IFT’s mission in rebranding the event as FIRST: Food Improved by Research, Science and Technology, which gets to the transformative power the organization believes the global food system can have on the world. This year’s theme will be addressed through the following topics: novel technology and innovation, sustainability, health and nutrition, food safety, and consumer insights and education. 

The education programming will be divided into two tracks: Science FIRST and Business FIRST. Science FIRST will feature live panels, keynotes, fireside chats and moderated discussions as well as on-demand scientific sessions and research presentations through the IFT FIRST online platform. Through the Business FIRST education program attendees can gain helpful tips and strategies for startups, investors and large companies. Topics will include food waste, supply chain impacts and IFT’s recent salary survey research and a discussion on what that data means for equity. Select sessions in both tracks will be livestreamed online.

On the expo floor, attendees can take advantage not only of the new ingredients and solutions on display but also the Startup Pavilion where consultants and entrepreneurs will network.

To ensure the health and safety of in-person attendees and exhibitors, IFT is partnering with Epistemix to determine the necessary protocols to implement at the event based on expected attendee risk levels. To keep up with the latest safety protocols in place and register for the event, visit IFT’s website.


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