While many of us were able to take a brief excursion to Disneyland during our recent stay in Anaheim, the main attraction was IFT’s 69th Annual Meeting & Food Expo®, June 6–9. More than 14,500 attendees expanded their professional networks, honed their skills by attending scientific sessions, and opened the door to a range of new business opportunities.
Registration for the event increased by 10% as compared to both the 2008 event in New Orleans, and the previous IFT event held in Anaheim in 2002. This is noteworthy because the trade show industry as a whole is experiencing an average attendee registration decline of almost 2% this year, according to the Center for Exhibition Industry Research.
In case you were unable to join us in Anaheim, you’ll want to check out IFT LIVE (http://live.ift.org), the electronic-only show daily that debuted during this year’s meeting; in addition to show-related articles, the Web site includes a photo gallery and videos.
To kick off our pre-meeting activities, a combined total of more than 320 people participated in nine Short Courses. Approximately 100 attendees participated in the IFT International Food Nanoscience Conference on Saturday, June 6.
Highlights of the Awards Celebration on Saturday included the announcement of IFT’s highest honor, the Nicholas Appert Award, presented to IFT emeritus member Daryl Lund. Attendees also celebrated the accomplishments of our 21 new Fellows, 13 additional Achievement Award recipients, and two Campbell’s Excellence in Leadership Student Award recipients.
During Sunday morning’s keynote session, IFT’s Executive Vice President Barbara Byrd Keenan recognized nearly 120 IFT members for their commitment and dedication.
Also during the session, Howard Smith Jr., Immediate Past President of the Flavor and Extract Manufacturers Association, presented IFT Foundation Chair Jonathan Merkle with a check for $50,000 to fund the Dr. Richard L. Hall Scholarship in Flavor Science.
IFT and the Food Processing Suppliers Association (FPSA ) announced an agreement to co-locate the IFT Food Expo and FPSA PROCESS EXPO at Chicago’s McCormick Place Convention Center in 2010.
Keynote session attendees were entertained by economic experts Todd Buchholz and Jeffrey Alan Rosensweig. The panel discussion moderated by Mary Wagner and Jean Kinsey was the perfect forum for the two economists to present ideas.
Immediately following the Keynote, attendees flocked to the expo floor, where more than 800 exhibiting companies were there to greet them. The first-ever Trend Tours were well received, providing participants with an organized approach to navigating the show floor.
More than 130 sessions, not including posters, were offered during the Scientific Program. Enhancements to the poster sessions, including a lounge area and new virtual posters, were very positively received. Sunrise Sessions were also very popular. An average of 85 people attended each Scientific Program session, which is an increase of more than 10% over previous years.
More than 120 people representing 17 companies and universities participated in IPEx (Intellectual Property Exchange), a business innovation forum designed to connect intellectual property holders with companies and individuals looking for new technologies or solutions.
Over 50 area high school students participated in an Outreach Training Workshop alongside IFT’s Food Science Ambassadors.
Two new student competitions competitions were “can’t miss” events. The IFT Student Association competition, “Developing Solutions for Developing Countries,” drew 32 finalists from around the world. The Disney-IFT Student Association Product Development Competition challenged student teams to create a nutritious and unique new snack product targeted to children.
We wrapped up the meeting with over 160 participants at the IFT Global Food Safety & Quality Conference.
Through IFT Cares, three groups of IFT volunteers donated their time packing food at the Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County. Together, the groups of volunteers packed a total of nearly 1,700 boxes.
I am confident that we made a lasting impact on Anaheim. Participation in the IFT Annual Meeting & Food Expo inspired brand new connections with valued colleagues and friends, and solidified our collective commitment to the IFT community and to our food science and technology profession. We look forward to seeing you next year in Chicago.
IFT President, 2008–09
Vice President of Research and Development, General Mills, Minneapolis, Minn.