During the past two years, significant changes were initiated to ensure that the 2007 IFT Annual Meeting & Food ExpoSM in Chicago July 28–August 1 is as attractive as possible to the diverse membership of IFT.

The Annual Meeting Scientific Program Advisory Committee chaired by Allen Foegeding worked closely with the Scientific Programming Subcommittee chaired by Sheryl Barringer and the New Products & Technologies Subcommittee chaired by Kara Sair.

After reviewing inputs from a variety of sources, the committee recommended "Health, Wellness and Foods" as the theme of the event, then issued a call for session proposals and research abstracts. The committee received 131 proposals for sessions (symposia, workshops, roundtables, and panel discussions), 110 submissions for new products & technologies sessions, and more than 1,600 new research abstracts.

This year’s technical program will include many new and innovative dimensions.

General Sessions will be held on three days. The Opening General Session on Sunday morning will feature our keynote speaker, Jason Jennings, business thought leader and author of Think BIG, Act Small.

The general session on Monday morning will focus on an industry approach to health, wellness, and foods, with senior food company executives addressing issues such as obesity, food safety, trans fats, sustainability, disharmonious regulations, tariffs, and GMOs.

And the general session on Tuesday morning will feature experts on trends, product tracking, and regulatory issues providing insights on food and beverage opportunities.

Technical Sessions will have a new format based on 90-minute time blocks. Some sessions will have two such time blocks. For example, a session on the WHO/FAO global strategy for diet, physical activity, and health and potential impacts on the food industry will require two 90-minute blocks—the first focusing on key elements of national and international policy, regulatory implications from the perspective of Western and non-Western countries, and the role of Codex Alimentarius; and the second, a roundtable, allowing the speakers from the first time block to interact with the audience.

Among the wide array of session topics are the following:
• Food innovation in Europe: The Netherlands as role model driving regulation and health issues.

• Engineering research priorities: Communication between academia and industry.

• Postharvest intervention technologies to improve produce safety.

• Consumer trends: Are they global or regional?

• Taking safety and quality systems into the 21st century, developing systematic thinking on how to do process audits.

• Communicating in a crisis: What to say, how to say it, and who to say it to.

• Nutrient-rich foods: Applying nutrient navigation systems to improve public health.

• Evidence-based product development.

• The transition to next-generation oils in food processing and foodservice.

A New Products & Technologies Forum on the Food Expo® floor—separate from the traditional New Products & Technologies sessions—will increase visibility for six of the 110 submitted abstracts. These six presenters will have 30 minutes—15 minutes more than normal—to discuss their latest technologies in greater depth, as well as the opportunity to provide food samples and literature.

Professional development sessions will address how to negotiate with vendors and suppliers; communicating with diplomacy and professionalism; conflict resolution and confrontation management; excelling as a highly effective team leader; retirement planning; and other topics.

Pre-Annual Meeting short courses will be presented on nanobiotechnology; new-generation oils; flavor interactions in foods; food packaging for the non-packaging professional; food science for the non-food scientist: blending culinary arts and food science; ingredient applications for total health and wellness; nonthermal processing technologies; and preparing for third-party audits.

In summary, the 2007 Annual Meeting program will offer a variety of topics and formats for the entire IFT membership, regardless of where they are employed—industry, academia, or government. They can participate in sessions that focus on the most recent research in their area of interest; continue their education via short courses; and network with colleagues and new acquaintances in a variety of venues. And Food Expo will feature the latest information on new ingredients and services.

Plan to attend. For details, visit and click on FoodSmarts.

by Dennis R. Heldman,
IFT President, 2006–07
President, Heldman Associates, Weston, Fla.
[email protected]