"To be engaged in some small way in the revival of one of the great cities of the world is to live a meaningful existence by default,” said Chris Rose, a writer for The Times-Picayune. IFT is once again giving back to New Orleans—the host city for the 71st Annual Meeting & Food Expo®. From June 11–15, I will join thousands of you to experience the “cultural gumbo” of the city and all it has to offer. New Orleans is the birthplace of jazz, home of the muffuletta sandwich, and a city that celebrates its cultural diversity.

We could not ask for a more perfect destination to convene thousands of food scientists, technologists, culinologists, suppliers, marketers and other professionals from around the globe who are interested in food. Over four days, attendees will meet face-to-face with top scientists and innovators in the profession, and participate in forums that will expand their knowledge bases and introduce them to a wide array of new information and resources.

Our profession is showcased at this year’s Annual Meeting & Food Expo through our superb Scientific Program and world-renowned Food Expo, which attracts the largest, most diverse food ingredient, equipment, and packaging suppliers from around the world. The average Annual Meeting & Food Expo attendee will spend eight hours learning about the ways they can apply the latest scientific insights to their products, interact with more than 80 suppliers, and make more than 20 new professional contacts.

We kick off our official program on Saturday evening with our annual Awards Celebration honoring the 2011 Achievement Award laureates and 16 newly elected Fellows. Throughout the meeting, attendees can access IFT Live, the Official eDaily of the IFT Annual Meeting & Food Expo. Another brand new resource designed to navigate you through the meeting and expo is a smart-phone application that is available free-of-charge to download before, during, and after the event.

Also, join us Sunday morning at the Keynote Session to hear what is sure to be a provocative presentation by Michael Specter, author of Denialism: How Irrational Thinking Hinders Scientific Progress, Harms the Planet, and Threatens Our Lives.

Beginning Sunday morning, our Food Expo floor will showcase more than 900 exhibiting companies from around the world, with more than 1,840 booths. If you are looking for the newest products while on the expo floor, check out IFT’s What’s New! Program, which is designed to help you locate companies featuring the hottest new products and innovations for your product development needs.

The third annual Trend & Solution Tours will once again be a main attraction on the expo floor, and will feature “Taste Modification,” “Ingredients for Functional Foods,” “Weight Management and Diabetes,” “New Directions for Carbs,” and “Next-Generation Fats and Oils.”

Be sure to look for the Knowledge Center, a new IFT resource for information on key industry focus areas and core sciences to help you build a personalized Scientific Program education plan.

Thousands will attend our 2011 Scientific Program, which is organized in topical focus area and core science tracks. There are more than 100 sessions and 1,200 poster sessions led by experts in their fields. And if you’d like early access to the in-depth, practical education you will receive from the Scientific Program, join us for our nine pre-annual meeting short courses.

IFT Student Association (IFTSA) competitions will take place in New Orleans too. They will include “Developing Solutions for Developing Countries,” the “Disney–IFTSA Product Development Competition: Nutritious Food for Kids,” the IFTSA Mars Product Development Competition, and the Undergraduate Research Competition. Stop by to see the students and their innovative product and research presentations and posters.

We hope that you will also support our undergraduate and graduate scholarship program by running, walking, or sponsoring someone in the 11th Annual IFT Student Association and Feeding Tomorrow Fun Run & Walk on Monday morning. If you’ve never attended the Fun Run, you’re missing a real treat!

If you are interested in volunteer opportunities through IFT Cares, you can participate in IFT’s philanthropic partnership program with Second Harvest Food Bank of Greater New Orleans and Acadiana, a member of the Feeding America network. It’s a great way to help those in need.

I want to especially say “thank you very much” to all of the dedicated IFT volunteers and staff who have worked very hard to make the 2011 Annual Meeting & Food Expo a reality. Welcome to New Orleans, experience the city’s “cultural gumbo,” enjoy the meeting, and … “laissez le bons temps rouler” … let the good times roll!


Robert B. Gravani,
IFT President, 2010–2011
Professor of Food Science,
Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y.
[email protected]