John D. Floros

We are gearing up for the 2008 IFT Annual Meeting and Food ExpoSM in New Orleans June 28–July 1. More than 22,000 food scientists, suppliers, marketers, and others from around the globe are scheduled to join us, and our host city is ready to welcome us with open arms. Over the last year, IFT has coordinated visits to New Orleans for our Food Expo participants to give them the opportunity to get to know the city first-hand. Here is what a few of our exhibitors had to say about their recent visits:

“I was thrilled to find that the city is every bit as vibrant and full of life as I remembered it on my past visits.”

“The food has always been one of the biggest draws of visitors of New Orleans and for IFT members … there’s no better place to eat than New Orleans.”

“The streets are definitely hopping. People are back. It is fantastic. The service is here. The hospitality is here. Everything that you would come to expect from New Orleans is still in place. They are definitely ready for us.”

I echo their sentiments. Architectural beauty, mouth-watering Cajun cuisine, foot-tapping music, and Southern hospitality are just a sampling of what’s in store for you in New Orleans. This year’s meeting is sure to offer something for everyone—whether you are a first-time attendee interested in scouting out the latest new product on the Expo floor or you are an annual meeting veteran with an interest in scientific sessions on cutting-edge research. As always, networking, networking, and more networking opportunities are a mainstay of the meeting and an attendee highlight.

The Awards Celebration kicks off our event the evening of Saturday, June 28, as we honor our 2008 IFT Achievement Award laureates and newly elected Fellows. This celebration will recognize individuals and teams of colleagues for remarkable contributions to the field of food science and technology. During the festivities, I will recap IFT’s year and introduce the incoming IFT President and President-Elect.

Sunday morning, our keynote speaker, Tom Kelley, will share with you tools and insights for fostering innovation within your own organization. Tom is the best-selling author and General Manager of IDEO, the design and development firm that brought the world cutting-edge products including the Apple Mouse and the Palm V. Part of the Opening Session will pay tribute to our Food Expo Innovation Award winners, recognizing outstanding innovation demonstrated by the food industry. We also will introduce IFT’s brand new philanthropic project with America’s Second Harvest Food Bank. During this year’s meeting, attendees and exhibitors are invited to deliver much-needed food to families in and around New Orleans through America’s Second Harvest Food Bank.

Following the Opening Session, our Expo floor will open, featuring 1,000 companies in 250,000 square feet of exhibition space. These companies will present their latest advancements for making food more safe, more fun, functional, nutritious, appealing, or accessible. Supplier Solution Sessions give IFT Food Expo exhibitors an opportunity to showcase their company’s offerings.

Annual Meeting attendees look to the Scientific Program as the foundation for making informed decisions about the science, development, and marketing of foods and to keep current on the marketing, sales, development, safety, quality, packaging, and nutrient value of foods. The theme of this year’s Scientific Program, Driving Growth and Sustain-ability through Innovation, will help to guide our attendees through a portion of this year’s programming. New to the Annual Meeting’s Scientific Program is a series of core tracks that include the following: Science Fundamentals; Applied Science; New Products & Technologies; Student Programming; and Professional and Business Development. Kick-start your learning with one of eight Pre-Annual Meeting Short Courses covering topics from microencapsulation and labeling to food safety and healthy ingredients.

Focusing on our future, our Student Association has the final judging of the Product Development Competition that showcases our future food scientists. The College Bowl is another can’t-miss event that tests the knowledge of student teams from across the United States. You can also support our food science students through the IFT Foundation-Student Association Annual Fun Run—a great opportunity to work off some of that Cajun cooking and provide funding for our undergraduate and graduate scholarships.

We truly have something for everyone in an iconic and vibrant city. I look forward to seeing you all there. Come help us to kick it up a notch. Come join us in New Orleans!

by John D. Floros,
IFT President, 2007–08 
Professor and Head, Food Science Dept.,
The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pa. 
[email protected]