Las Vegas is the kind of city where the action seldom stops, and the same could be said of the 2012 IFT Annual Meeting & Food Expo, which took place there Monday through Thursday, June 25–28. Activities weren’t scheduled 24/7, but they did begin early (think Fun Run and Sunrise Sessions) and continued well past the 5 p.m. daily show floor close for attendees who participated in evening press events, business meetings, networking, and socializing.
The latest examples of scientific inquiry and applications were in the spotlight for the 18,200 food industry professionals who arrived in Las Vegas from all 50 states and nearly 80 countries, and the buzz among them was that the event was a successful one. Keynote presenter Howard Schultz, chairman, president, and CEO of Starbucks, packed the auditorium in the Las Vegas Convention Center for a wide-ranging, conversational speech that touched on topics ranging from fostering entrepreneurialism to operating a business authentically.
The Food Expo sprawled across nearly 222,000 square feet of exhibit space, and the Scientific Program boasted 100 sessions, 1,400 poster presentations, and two provocative Beacon Lectures—one by PepsiCo’s Mehmood Khan and another by Jose Saavedra of Nestlé Nutrition.
A Celebratory Start
The 72nd Annual Meeting & Food Expo got under way on a celebratory note with the annual Awards Celebration highlighting the achievements of IFT’s 15 Fellows, 15 Achievement Award winners, student Excellence in Leadership honorees, and hundreds of IFT members whose dedicated service moved the organization forward in the past year. IFT Executive Vice President Barbara Byrd Keenan  welcomed the honorees and those who came to celebrate with them.
IFT President Roger Clemens  shared a few of the highlights of his first 10 months in office—months of whirlwind travels that have taken him from Shanghai, where he attended the bi-annual Food Summit, to the IFT/ALACCTA Food Science and Innovation Conference in Guadalajara, Mexico, and to section meetings in destinations from British Columbia to Oklahoma. Clemens wrapped up his comments with a heartfelt word of thanks to his wife and three daughters for their ongoing support and encouragement.
Next, IFT President-Elect John Ruff  took the stage to issue a challenge to food scientists: Use your skills and expertise to help end food insecurity around the globe. By 2050, the world’s population will reach nine billion, and scientific innovation is the key to ensuring a safe and abundant food supply for all, said Ruff. “All of us—scientists, educators, farmers, regulators, manufacturers, distributors, and consumers—we’re all in this together,” said Ruff. “Feeding the world is everybody’s business.”
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IFT’s top honor—the Nicholas Appert Award recognizing preeminence in and contributions to the field of food science and technology went to Casimir C. Akoh , Distinguished Professor with the Dept. of Food Science and Technology at the University of Georgia. Akoh was honored with a bronze medal and a $5,000 honorarium for his innovative contributions to research in fats and oils.
A new award—the W.K. Kellogg International Food Security Award and Lectureship—made its debut during the Awards Celebration. Bruce Hamaker  was the inaugural award recipient. A Professor of Food Science at Purdue University, Director of the Whistler Center for Carbohydrate Research, and co-Director of the newly formed International Food Technology Center at Purdue, Hamaker has more than three decades of experience working in developing countries.
Recipients of the IFT Student Association (IFTSA) Excellence in Leadership Award sponsored by Campbell Soup Co. and McCormick were presented with plaques during the awards event. This award recognizes two students for leadership in student activities at the chapter, regional, and national levels of IFT.
This year’s graduate student recipient of the award is Aliyar Fouladkhah  of Colorado State University. North Carolina State University student Emily Wolter  received the undergraduate award. Ingredient supplier Tate & Lyle was honored with the 2012 Food Technology Industrial Achievement Award recognizing its Promitor™ soluble corn fiber. In  Andrew Hoffman of Tate & Lyle is shown accepting the award.
The recipient of the 2012 IFT Media Award for Excellence in Consumer Journalism, Kathleen Zelman , Director of Nutrition for WebMD, where she oversees diet, nutrition, and food information, was present for the Awards Celebration.
Also recognized that evening was Robert Gravani, Immediate Past President of IFT. Clemens cited a long list of Gravani’s accomplishments which included hosting a successful Wellness conference, repositioning IFT’s Foundation, Feeding Tomorrow, and transitioning IFT divisions to an open-access membership model.
In addition, Clemens acknowledged the achievements of IFTSA President Jennifer Willig. In her tenure as president, student membership increased to more than 2,500, with more students than ever participating in student competitions, and IFTSA launched a new membership recruitment and retention video to rave reviews.
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After the Awards Ceremony, a group of IFT leaders paused for a photo. From left in  are President-Elect Ruff, Immediate Past President Gravani, Executive Vice President Keenan, and President Clemens.
When the final awards were distributed, honorees and their friends and colleagues gathered for a Networking Reception that featured Las Vegas-style cuisine  and entertainment .
Keynote Content and Charisma
The Keynote Session, which marks the start of the first full day of Annual Meeting & Food Expo activities, was characterized by a winning combination of substantive content and charismatic delivery.
IFT President Clemens welcomed the crowd and introduced a year-in-review video. The video highlighted some of the organization’s achievements over the past year, including the first Food Policy Impact Conference, the web-based Food Related Emergency Exercise tool IFT developed via its contact with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the debut of online issues of Journal of Food Science, and product tracing pilots with the FDA, among many others.
After the video, Clemens shared details about a brand new IFT contest—the Food Geek Video Competition in which members were invited to create and submit videos that addressed the question: “What’s cool about being a food geek?” A panel of judges selected the top three, each of which was recognized with a newly minted “Poppy Award” in the shape of a popcorn container.
Teams from Decagon Devices produced the competition’s top two winners, “Real Men of Food Genius,” which earned second place, and “Food Geeks Through History,” which placed first. In  Decagon President Scott Campbell (left) accepts a Poppy Award from Clemens. A D.D. Williamson team came in third with a video titled “That’s My Product.”
Things turned a bit more serious with the presentation of the 2012 Food Expo Innovation Awards, which recognize exhibiting companies for outstanding innovation in products, ingredients, technologies, instrumentation, equipment, and services introduced commercially since Jan. 1, 2011. (Information on the winners of this year’s competition can be found in the feature entlted "IFT Spies Top Innovations".)
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Executive Vice President Keenan  next took time to acknowledge the contributions of Division and Section leaders, singling out several for their outstanding efforts. She then shared two video presentations. The first was “Day in the Life of a Food Packaging Professional,” which highlighted the work of packaging professionals at Tetra Pak in Denton, Texas. View it at http://live.ift.org/videos.
Next came the debut of a dramatic video developed to help educate the public about the valuable role that food science plays in our lives. Titled “A World Without Food Science,” the video presented a stark look at what the average grocery store would be like minus the benefits of research and technology in areas including microbiology, food safety, food packaging, and transportation. The session also incorporated highlights of two IFT “Profiles in Innovation” videos featuring experts in areas where food scientists are exerting a major impact. “We think it’s a powerful, visual way to tell our story,” said Keenan, “and we’ll be promoting this new campaign in a number of ways, including on a special website www.worldwithoutfoodscience.org. Three more videos will be released within the year as part of the World Without Food Science public education campaign.
Keenan announced that IFT will be working with Girls Inc., a nonprofit group that provides programming focused on helping girls from at-risk communities. Specifically, IFT will team with Girls Inc. “to develop new pilot programs that focus on science-based educational opportunities, drive new people into the food science profession, and ultimately feed the job pipeline,” she said.
In the final portion of the Keynote Session, Starbucks’ Schultz  addressed an attentive, engaged audience , relating the Starbucks saga of success, disappointments, and, ultimately, commitment to its guiding principles of entrepreneurialism and social consciousness.
Also on hand from Starbucks for the Keynote Session was former IFT President Mary Wagner , who is Starbucks Senior Vice President of Global Research and Development and a member of the board of Girls Inc.
Standout Scientific Insights
Peer-reviewed science was in the spotlight throughout the course of the 2012 Scientific Program’s educational sessions , and poster presentations supplied an impressive opportunity for the exchange of information on myriad topics [19, 20].
For guidance on session choices, many Annual Meeting & Food Expo attendees paid a visit to the Knowledge Center  located in the convention center concourse. There IFT staff members were available to help create personalized Scientific Program education plans for those who asked for assistance. In addition, to simplify the process of selecting sessions, the Scientific Program was organized around seven industry focus areas and four core sciences.
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Once again this year, two high profile Beacon Lecturers brought new perspectives and advanced provocative positions on topics relevant to the food industry. Interestingly, this year both lecturers were physicians with broad-based food and beverage experience.
On Tuesday, PepsiCo’s Khan , Chief Executive Officer, Global Nutrition Group, and Chief Scientific Officer, zeroed in on the challenging realities of our current food landscape such as the fact that there are a billion hungry people in the world and a billion who are overweight. “If we could save half of the food that is thrown away, we could feed one billion more people without any more resources, such as land or water,” he observed. View a video on Khan’s message at http://live.ift.org/videos.
Beacon Lecturer Saavedra  is Head of Medical and Scientific Affairs, Nestlé Nutrition. In his Wednesday presentation, he addressed the problems of chronic non-communicable diseases associated with obesity and a poor immune system. Saavedra underscored the importance of establishing healthful dietary patterns in children, noting that when poor dietary choices begin early, they tend to continue throughout life.
For those seeking an early morning power hour of education, Sunrise Sessions filled the bill. From 7:15 a.m. to 8:15 a.m. on Tuesday and Thursday, early risers were updated on topics including nanotechnology, the pet food market, and sustainability.
In addition, two late-breaking sessions, “Front-of-Pack Labeling: What’s Now & What’s Next” and “Stimulating Sodium Reduction and Overcoming Technological Challenges,” allowed presenters and audience members to exchange ideas on timely issues. In the sodium reduction session, speakers Maryanne Drake  of North Carolina State University and Barbara Davis  of HealthFocus International detailed some of the hurdles that must be overcome in order for the food industry to market low-sodium products that are well received by consumers.
On Wednesday, the New Products & Technologies Showcase highlighted nine innovative technologies. This popular annual event provided a convenient forum for presenters from industry and academia to discuss emerging food and beverage technologies with interested attendees.
One of the most exciting things about this year’s Scientific Program is the fact that the education need not end in Las Vegas. Thanks to the sponsorship of Ajinomoto Company Inc., those who paid for full conference registration will have online access to all of the Scientific Program sessions for one year.
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The Annual Meeting & Food Expo drew 125 media professionals to Las Vegas and led to some high-profile exposure for the event and IFT. The session on labeling as well as sessions on breakfast consumption patterns, the taste and texture of meat and eggs, and ethnic foods were among those attracting the most media coverage. Combined outreach efforts by IFT and Food Expo exhibitors led to more than 722 million media impressions in the first weeks after the gathering. Among the media outlets that reported on news from the event were United Press International, Yahoo, and EveryDayHealth.com.
Experiencing the Expo
Imagine navigating an area equivalent to 42 basketball courts—filled to capacity with the latest and greatest in ingredients, equipment, and technologies [26, 27]. That’s exactly what awaited Food Expo attendees at the Las Vegas Convention Center. It’s no wonder that Food Expo registrants eagerly anticipated the opening of the show floor on Tuesday morning (28). What they found there were 1,066 exhibitors occupying more than 1,900 booths showcasing their products and services and treating attendees to a taste of something new and different.
And we mean that literally. Thanks to the new Taste the Expo program, it was easier than ever for show goers to identify the companies that were showcasing product prototypes. From chocolate-flavored tea beverages to a dairy-based snack with a texture akin to beef jerky, the menu of prototypes designed to inspire formulation creativity was seemingly endless—and definitely hard to resist. In all, 221 companies served up product samples  at the Expo.
• Trend & Solution Tours. This now traditional feature of the Expo provided attendees with an option for easily exploring the show floor. Trend & Solution Tours are self-guided tours organized around five relevant food industry trends. More than 100 products and services from several dozen companies were featured on the tours, which were described in IFT Food Expo Extras brochures .
• Innova Pavilion. The Innova Market Insights Taste the Trend Pavilion  supplied attendees with an illuminating analysis of the year’s top 10 consumer trends. Here’s Innova’s take on three of the top 10 trends. 1) ‘Pure’ is the new natural. Natural products are becoming the rule rather than the exception in most western markets, despite the lack of a clear definition of what natural encompasses; one way around this is to market product purity. 2) Green is a given. Corporate social responsibility and sustainability strategies have taken on an increasingly important role for food companies, with significant focus on lowering carbon emissions, reducing packaging, and creating fair trade product lines. 3) Location, location, location. Driven by interest in supporting local suppliers, a desire for ethnic product lines, concerns over the quality and safety of imported products, or the demand for authenticity in terms of products from a particular region or country, attention to where foods are coming from has never been greater among consumers.
In addition to highlighting trends in large-scale visual displays, the Taste the Trend Pavilion offered access to the research firm’s team of industry experts . More than 200 innovative products from around the world were on display in the pavilion.
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• Mintel Pavilion. Mintel’s new product experts Lynn Dornblaser  and Dave Jago  were the hosts for three sessions daily in the Mintel Pavilion. After the formal presentations, attendees could visit Mintel’s tasting room to sample products the presenters had highlighted. This year’s topics were “The Many Faces of Natural,” “Healthy Nutrition for Kids,” and “Approaches to Weight Management.”
“Wellness has become a part of consumers’ everyday lives in a variety of ways,” said Dornblaser in her discussion on the weight management theme. She pointed out that 42% of Americans are looking for balance when it comes to their health.
Considering the scope of the obesity epidemic, “weight management is the single most important health and wellness issue facing the nation,” said Jago. That reality is not lost on food manufacturers; companies are increasingly positioning products to aid in weight control. Consumers are opting for products that increase satiety, enhance metabolism, and block fat, the presenters emphasized, with high fiber and protein playing an important role. “Staying fuller longer really does resonate with consumers,” Dornblaser said.
• Special Events Pavilion. On each day of the Expo, the Special Events Pavilion on the show floor was home to informational sessions. On Tuesday, Marc Drucker , founder and President of Newlogic Inc., addressed the topic, “Are You Prepared for the Effect the Patent Reform Laws Will Have on Food Packaging R&D Strategy, Organization, and Management?” J. Peter Clark , Consulting Process Engineer, was among those who provided insights in a Wednesday session titled “Partnering for Success with Your Contract Manufacturer.” On Thursday, Melinda Brunell , Vice President, Health and Wellness, with the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, shared findings from the group’s research analyzing consumer perceptions about what products are “real, fresh, and natural.”
• Special Interest Pavilions. Each year these pavilions bring together exhibitors related to specific topic areas in designated sections of the show floor, providing attendees with a one-stop shopping solution. Themes for the pavilions this year were Asia-pac, organic food ingredients , healthy food ingredients, and food safety and quality.
• IFT Central Booth. If the goal was connecting, collaborating, or simply conversing, the IFT Central booth [39, 40] was the place to be. IFT staff members provided information on publications, continuing education programs, science leadership in Washington, D.C., and much more.
More Events, Activities
• Short Courses. The 2012 roster of short courses, held between Saturday and Monday prior to the start of the Annual Meeting, drew 417 participants, almost 28% more than last year. The short courses earned high marks from attendees; 93% of evaluators indicated that they were satisfied or very satisfied with overall course quality, up just slightly from last year. In  Dolf DeRovira of Flavor Dynamics Inc. is shown leading a course on “Flavor Interactions in Food,” one of several new additions to the curriculum this year.
• Career Center Events. The sold-out Career Fair Networking Event  on Tuesday afternoon was a hub of activity, filled with food and beverage company recruiters and job seekers. In addition to the open networking on Tuesday, employers registered with IFT’s Career Center to conduct formal interviews throughout the day on Wednesday and Thursday. Participating companies posted 159 job openings, viewed 1,841 resumes, and conducted 289 interviews.
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• Board of Directors Meeting. An IFT Board of Directors meeting took place on Sunday prior to the start of the Annual Meeting & Food Expo. Members of the 2011–12 Board are pictured in . Front row, from left are Craig Sherwin, Robert Ross, Catherine Adams Hutt, IFT Executive Vice President Keenan, IFT President Clemens, IFT President-Elect Ruff, Treasurer Bruce Stillings, Marilyn Schorin, and Martha Rhodes Roberts. Second row, from left are Immediate Past President Gravani, Brenda Knapp-Polzin, P. Michael Davidson, Douglas Marshall, Colin Dennis, Linda Perucca, Justin Shimek, and IFTSA President-Elect Matthew Cael.
• Town Hall Forum. About 100 members, volunteer leaders, and staff gathered to learn more about and provide input on current and future IFT programs at the Town Hall Forum  held on Tuesday afternoon. Three information stations provided an opportunity for members to ask questions, exchange ideas, and hear more about a variety of new initiatives.
• Past Presidents Dinner. This traditional gathering, held on Tuesday evening, brought together a group of IFT’s past presidents  with current leadership. Front row, from left are Mary Schmidl, Al Clausi, IFT Executive Vice President Keenan, and Gilbert Leveille. Back row, from left, are Ted Labuza, Bruce Stillings, Roy Arnold, Marianne Gillette, Mary Wagner, Frank Busta, Charles Manley, Herbert Stone, and Margaret Lawson.
• A Global Perspective. Functioning proactively as a global citizen is part of IFT’s mission statement, and IFT’s international presence was certainly in evidence at the Annual Meeting & Food Expo. More than 2,000 international attendees were present in Las Vegas, many international delegations were represented, and 358 international exhibitors participated in the Food Expo. In , representatives of one of IFT’s new partners, SENAI, a provider of education, training, and consulting services to support the food industry in Brazil, are pictured with IFT representatives. Pictured from left are IFT Vice President of Science and Policy Initiatives Will Fisher, Katherine Helena Oliveira de Matos of SENAI, Josiane Betat da Silva of SENAI, Ivânia Biazussi Thomas of SENAI, Ingrid Boesche Tomazelli of SENAI, IFT Executive Vice President Keenan, and IFT President-Elect Ruff.
• IFT Community Live: Division Connection. This open networking event  held on Wednesday evening allowed participants to mix and mingle while learning more about what IFT communities have to offer and how to get involved with them.
• Reviewers’ Reception. Allen Foegeding , Editor-in-Chief of IFT’s Scientific Journals, presented certificates to authors of the most-cited papers at the Reviewers’ Reception, a special annual event where editors of the journals can personally thank active peer-reviewers for their work throughout the year.
Students Stay Active, Engaged
Attending sessions, exploring the Food Expo, volunteering as session monitors, and presenting posters were among the activities that kept IFTSA members busy at the Annual Meeting & Food Expo.
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Wednesday evening was prime time for student socializing at the IFTSA Mixer  sponsored by PepsiCo. It also offered the opportunity for viewing displays presented by finalists in the Chapter of the Year competition sponsored by PepsiCo and Solae. Immediately after the mixer, it was time for the Welcome Assembly, which included introduction of the IFTSA leadership and presentation of awards.
Leadership development was high on the agenda at the Chapter Leaders Workshops held during the course of the Annual Meeting & Food Expo. In , IFT Director of Membership Sharon Kneebone participates in a discussion with student leaders. Concluding the IFTSA social agenda, things went retro with an 80s-themed bowling party on Thursday evening.
Keeping It Competitive
There’s nothing like a little healthy competition to provide intellectual stimulation, and several annual competitive events kept students engaged and mentally challenged  in Las Vegas. Here’s a look at how things played out—and who came out on top.
• College Bowl Competition. A victory in the Annual Intercollegiate Food Science and Technology Competition is always a major cause for celebration, but this year the victory was especially sweet for the team from Brigham Young University. The university became the first to win four College Bowl National Championships in the 27 years of the competition after the team successfully fielded a question about acid modified starch. Brigham Young fans in the audience heralded the victory announcement by standing and belting out the school fight song.
Brigham Young graduate student Amalie Kurzer was the team captain, and teammate Marshall Dunn, an undergraduate, had this to say about the leadership she provided. She “put forth so much effort into becoming arguably the best competitor at the national competition—practicing three times a week with the team, organizing matches against the faculty, writing over 600 flashcards to practice with,” said Dunn. “Her endless hours of study and practice … is what really set her apart from the other great participants.”
The team began meeting for practice sessions in the fall, according to advisor Michelle Lloyd, who is Manager of the Food Technology Research Center at Brigham Young University. When the spring semester ended and many team members left campus, they kept the practice sessions going via videoconferencing.
Members of the victorious Brigham Young team were all smiles after clinching the top spot. From left in  are Dunn, Shintaro Pang, Jon Swindler, Kurzer, Jonathan Kershaw, and Lloyd.
The runner-up for the College Bowl competition was the University of Minnesota team. Other finalists in this year’s competition were North Carolina State University, Purdue University, Cornell University, University of California-Davis, Clemson University, and the University of Arkansas. The competition was partially sponsored by PepsiCo and Nestlé Purina.
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• Developing Solutions for Developing Countries Competition. The focus was global in this competition, which tasked student competitors with creating a mango-based product that addresses nutrient deficiencies common in Kenya. This year’s first-place winner in the domestic segment of the competition was the Washington State University/University of Idaho Bi-State School of Food Science team with Mango Maandazi. The team came up with a comprehensive product development plan leading to the preparation of dehydrated mango for use in a dry mix for maandazi, a popular Kenyan fried dough snack. Pictured from left in  are team members Alex Fredrickson, Jenny Lim, Rossana Villa-Rojas, Amir Golmohamadi, Jesse Zuehlke, Lauren Schopp, Anne Secor, and General Mills representative Dante Vargas. Team member Ford Childs is not pictured.
Other domestic finalists were the University of Massachusetts-Amherst with Mango Meal, a nutrient-dense fortified corn porridge made with dried mango flakes, and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University with Uji-mate, a nutritious mango flour.
Universiti Putra Malaysia clinched first place in the international portion of the competition with its entry, Vit-A-Go, a mango leather product that can be made from bruised or overripe mangoes and that is high in vitamin A. Members of the team, pictured from left in  are Adeseye Lasekam O., Tai Boon Tan, Najla Gooda Sahib, Chang Chew Sew, and Kuan Chee Hao. Not pictured is Mohd Asraf Mohd Zainudin.
Other international finalists were the teams from Bogor Agricultural University, which developed a snack called Mangnut that contains vitamin A, vitamin C, protein, and iron, and Brawijaya University with Stift Oorrid Mango, an instant, high-protein product made with cowpea, maize, and mango.
Now in its fourth year, the Developing Solutions for Developing Countries Competition was partially sponsored by General Mills.
• Product Development Competition. Plenty of product development creativity was on display in the finals of this prestigious annual competition sponsored by Mars Chocolate North America. The competition challenged student teams to conceptualize a new product idea and develop a plan for bringing it to market.
This year’s winning concept, developed by the Cornell University team, and chosen by a panel of food industry judges, was Dough TEMPtations, a fruit-filled, compound-coated cookie dough snack formulated to be enjoyed straight from the refrigerator or oven-baked to produce coated cookies.
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In  members of the Cornell team pose in front of a poster created for the competition. Pictured front row, from left, are Katie Strickland, Agnes Lim, Rebecca Mangona, Delia Hughes, Elizabeth George, Jeannette Ho, Meagan McKeever, Claire Aucella, Shruti Madathanapalli, and Lauren Musumeci. In the back row, from left, are Olivia Weihe, Kyle Clark, and David Cullinan. Not pictured are team members Dongjun Zhao, Susanna Kahn, and Shaowei Cui.
Second place went to the University of Wisconsin-Madison for Cranberry POPlers, soft pretzel balls made of sweet potato filled with a tangy cranberry sauce. The Ohio State University team placed third with UnBeetable Burger, a frozen veggie burger slider that comes pre-assembled and can be microwaved and ready to eat within minutes.
Other finalists in the Product Development Competition were California Polytechnic State University with Veg This Way, a gourmet vegetable leather snack; Pennsylvania State University with Brew Bites, bite-sized crackers shaped like bottle caps and made from grain left over from the brewing process; and University of Minnesota with Theikos, a frozen vanilla Greek yogurt bar atop a bed of crunchy granola topped with a sweet honey drizzle.
• Nutritious Food for Kids Competition. The annual Disney-IFTSA Product Development Competition charged teams with developing a healthful product concept for retail or foodservice. Specifically, the products were to incorporate at least one of the following: a fruit, a vegetable, low-fat dairy, and/or whole grains, as well as one Disney character franchise.
Teams from the University of Wisconsin-Madison won both the Grand Prize and first place recognition. Peanut Butter Jamsicles—frozen treats on a stick that swirl creamy peanut butter and high-protein Greek yogurt with a burst of 100% grape juice concentrate, thus delivering the familiar flavor of a classic peanut butter and jelly sandwich, earned its team members the Grand Prize. Pictured, from left, in  are Katie Sorg, Kristen Doster, Rebecca Skolmutch of Disney Consumer Products, Esther Sussman, Claire Kushner, and Lukas Krause.
Pit-Stop, a portable smoothie beverage made with a blend of fruit and vegetable juice and Greek yogurt and developed by another University of Wisconsin team, was the first place honoree.
Honorary awards went to three finalist teams: Cornell University for Vegginators, a snack packed with fiber and a full serving of vegetables; the University of Florida for Yum-e-Milk, a fizzy chocolate milk enriched with natural nutrients from almonds and dates and sweetened with stevia; and the University of Minnesota for Mickey’s Fantasticos, a sandwich cracker shaped like Mickey Mouse with vegetables in the cracker batter and a low-fat cream cheese filling. The competition was sponsored by Disney Consumer Products.
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• Chapter of the Year Competition. The 2012 winner of this annual competition was the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. In  Dennis Chu (left) and Jay Gilbert pose with a poster that highlights some of their chapter’s accomplishments. The University of California-Davis was honored as the Most Improved Chapter.
• Undergraduate Research Paper Competition. Margaret Debrauske  of the University of Wisconsin came in first in this competition recognizing original research achievement. Finalists shared their research in a hybrid oral/poster event that included a brief oral report as well as a poster presentation session. Brittany Miller of Cornell University placed second, and Graysen Ortega of Texas Tech University came in third.
To learn more about the various student competitions, watch videos filmed at the 2012 IFT Annual Meeting available at http://live.ift.org/videos.
Sweet Home Chicago
While it’s true that the excitement of the 2012 Annual Meeting & Food Expo is now only a memory, the good news is that the 2013 Annual Meeting & Food Expo, which will take place on IFT’s home turf in Chicago, is less than a year away. And IFT’s popular Wellness Conference is scheduled for this spring . Mark your calendars now for Wellness 13 slated for March 27–28, 2013, in Rosemont, Ill., and the Annual Meeting & Food Expo set for July 13–16, 2013, at Chicago’s McCormick Place.
Far from it. The city has been particularly hard hit by the recession, with jobs lost as construction projects were put on hold and the hospitality industry suffered. At 12.1%, the unemployment rate in Las Vegas is significantly higher than the national average, and the home foreclosure rate is among the top 10 in the nation. Currently, one in six residents of Southern Nevada struggles with hunger.
Participants in the IFT Cares initiative in Las Vegas got a lesson about the state of the local economy on their trip to the Three Square Food Bank (a), where volunteers spent a couple of hours unpacking and organizing donated grocery items on Friday morning after the Annual Meeting & Food Expo concluded.
“I realized once we drove off the strip [on the way to the food bank] that Vegas had a whole different story to tell,” reflected first-time volunteer Karin Thorsen, a Washington State University student.
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“This year we learned that, contrary to the glitz and glitter we all see in Vegas, the surrounding area has persistent and growing needs for food,” said IFT President-Elect John Ruff.
“Everyone from IFT was totally flexible and just fell into a wonderful teamwork arrangement,” reflected five-time IFT Cares volunteer Joe Regenstein of Cornell University, who pitched in with his wife Carrie (b) at the event. “I guess it was the complex type of challenge that a group of type A folks can actually thrive on.”
“If you were there, you would be proud of the passion and energy demonstrated by our IFT volunteers,” said Ruff. “I was privileged to be part of a group that made a difference on that Friday.”
The IFT President-Elect, a regular IFT Cares volunteer, shared a bit about the history of IFT’s ongoing philanthropic program. “The first IFT Cares event took place in New Orleans (in 2008) when we returned for the first time after Hurricane Katrina,” said Ruff. “It made sense after seeing all the challenges the area was facing. But we realized that the problem of hunger extends all across the USA, and so IFT Cares is now a regular feature of the Annual Meeting.
“I hope that I will see you at IFT Cares in my hometown of Chicago in 2013,” Ruff concluded.
In addition to the IFT Cares volunteer effort at Three Square, Food Expo exhibitors donated 7,060 pounds of leftover products to the food bank after the close of the Expo.
Watch a video about the IFT Cares volunteer activity in Las Vegas at http://live.ift.org/videos
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Elvis even showed up to support the effort. In total, sponsorships garnered more than $81,000, once again a record high for Feeding Tomorrow scholarships. More than 15 student and corporate teams were among the participants. As in previous years, Bruce Ferree of California Natural Products raised the most money for a single person. Just for participating, all runners received a race t-shirt.
At the end of the 3.1 miles, it was clear that many were taking the “fun” run very seriously. In the men’s division, David Peters placed first with a time of 16 minutes and 22 seconds, followed by Christopher Charles (17:11), and Steve Kollars (18:45).
Among the women runners, Trella Chrisco came in first with a time of 22:05, followed by Sara Spoede (22:06), and Amanda Charbonneau (22:08).
The IFTSA and Feeding Tomorrow gratefully acknowledge the Fun Run event sponsors:
Platinum: Chicago Section IFT, D.D. Williamson, Glanbia Nutritionals, Ingredion, Michael Foods Inc., PepsiCo, and Southern California Section IFT.
Gold: David Michael & Co., GEA, GNT, Horn Co., Land O’Lakes Dairy Foods, and MET-Rx.
—Kelly Hensel, Digital Media Editor, IFT
Check it out at http://live.ift.org.
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Healthy School Meals Come to Fruition
Janet Collins, IFT President-Elect Designate and Global Biotechnology Manager, Government Affairs Lead, and Ag Policy Manager for the DuPont Co., kicked off the awards presentation for the inaugural “Making Healthy School Meals Easy Challenge” at the Annual Meeting & Food Expo. As she explained, IFT in partnership with the IFT Foodservice Division and the American Culinology Federation (ACF), developed this competition to increase the accessibility of healthy foods throughout the country.
And there is certainly a need for more nutritious foods to be available for America’s children and teens. According to Rachel Dickens from the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) and one of the competition’s judges, 22 million children and teenagers take advantage of the free and reduced-price meals offered at schools in the United States.
And with 17% of U.S. children and teens considered obese, it is vital to provide healthier options. This was one of the reasons the USDA launched the “Recipes for Healthy Kids Competition” in 2011, which sought out new recipe ideas in three categories: Dark green and/or orange veggies, whole grains, and dry beans and peas.
From there, the “Making Healthy School Meals Easy Challenge” was conceptualized. The goal was to recreate one of the winning recipes into a manufactured food product that is affordable, maintains the nutritional content, enhances the flavor, and can be easily used in cafeterias. Entries from the three finalist teams—each one comprised of a chef, food technologist, manufacturer, and school foodservice worker—were judged by an expert panel of eight judges including Charles Wilson, Executive Chef of Caesars Palace.
The Z-Trim Ingredients Team emerged as the winner with its Smokin’ Powerhouse Chili. Pictured here, from left, are members of the winning team from Z-Trim including Lynda Carroll, Aili Yang, Erin Ryan, IFT’s Collins; and Chef Michael Ty, President of the American Culinary Federation.
—Kelly Hensel, Digital Media Editor, IFT
Aquatic Food Products Div.: 1st place ($1,000), Naim Montazeri, U. of Alaska-Fairbanks; 2nd place ($750), Yi-Tien Chen, Florida State U.; 3rd place ($500), Yaozhou Zhu, Florida State U.
Biotechnology Div.: 1st place ($1,000), Maria Rosales Soto, Washington State U.; 2nd place ($750), Panchalee Pathanibul, U. of Illinois; 3rd place ($500), Pavan Kumar Soma, U. of Maryland.
Carbohydrate Div.: 1st place ($1,000), Chao-Feng Hsieh, U. of Idaho; 2nd place ($750), Julian De Las Rosa Millan, Ceptrobi, Instituto Politecnico Nacional; 3rd place ($500), Yongfeng Ai, Purdue U.
Dairy Foods Div.: 1st place ($1,000), Rachel Campbell, North Carolina State U.; 2nd place ($750), Aaron Fox, North Carolina State U.; 3rd place ($500), Neerja Desai, North Carolina State U.
Food Chemistry Div.: 1st place ($1,000), Brian Song, Purdue U.; 2nd place ($750), Chenmei Hou, Florida State U.; 3rd place ($500), Brittany Towers, Ohio State U.
Food Engineering Div.: 1st place ($1,000), Natthakan Rungraeng, U. of Hawaii-Manoa; 2nd place ($750), Floirendo Flores, U. of Georgia; 3rd place ($500), Annie Dai, U. of California-Davis.
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Food Microbiology Div.: 1st place ($1,000), Thomas Rodda, U. of Minnesota; 2nd place ($750), Kirsten Hirneisen, U. of Delaware; 3rd place ($500), Nancy Liu, U. of Maryland.
Food Packaging Div.: 1st place ($1,000), Soumi Ray, Rutgers U.; 2nd place ($750), Sumeet Dhawan, Washington State U.; 3rd place ($500), Fang Tian, U. of Massachusetts.
Fruit & Vegetable Products Div.: 1st place ($1,000), Oluranti Campbell, Cornell U.; 2nd place ($750), Nongnuch Athiphunamphai, Cornell U.; 3rd place ($500), Cheryl Rock, U. of Florida.
International Div.: 1st place ($1,000), Sahar Navidghasemizad, U. of Alberta; 2nd place ($750), Ayse Karadag, Istanbul Technical U.; 3rd place ($500), Martin Sramek, Universitat Hoheneheim.
Marketing & Management Div.: 1st place ($1,000), Courtney Simons, North Dakota State U.; 2nd place ($750), Timothy Buran, U. of Florida; 3rd place ($500), David Bloom, U. of Illinois.
Muscle Foods Div.: 1st place ($1,000), Changqi Liu, U. of Kentucky; 2nd place ($750), Wejie Liu, North Carolina State; 3rd place ($500), Rebecca Delles, U. of Kentucky.
Nonthermal Processing Div.: 1st place ($1,000), Fangfei Lou, Ohio State U.; 2nd place ($750), Jessie Usaga Barrientos, Cornell U.; 3rd place ($500), Nicolas Meneses Villalobos, Technische Universitat Berlin.
Nutraceuticals & Functional Foods Div.: 1st place ($1,000), Kaustav Majumder, U. of Alberta; 2nd place ($750), Junnan Gu, Ohio State U.; 3rd place ($500), Rodrigo Cavalcanti, U. of Campinas.
Nutrition Div.: 1st place ($1,000), Adriana Soto, Louisiana State U.;, 2nd place ($750 each), Kom Kamonpatana, Ohio State U.; Maxine Roman, U. of California-Davis.
Product Development Div.: 1st place ($1,000), Sara Boswell, Texas A&M U.; 2nd place ($750), Zhen Ma, McGill U.; 3rd place ($500), Krunal Patel, South Dakota State U.
Quality Assurance Div.: 1st place ($1,000), Mengna Su, South Dakota State U.; 2nd place ($750), Luis Rodriguez-Saona, Universidade de Sao Paulo; 3rd place ($500), Rebecca Duar, Texas A&M U.
Refrigerated & Frozen Foods Div.: 1st place ($1,000), Kevin Mis Solval, Louisiana State U.; 2nd place ($750), Luis Espinoza Rodenzo, Louisiana State U.; 3rd place ($500), Luis Alfaro Sanabria, Louisiana State U.
Toxicology & Safety Evaluation Div.: 1st place ($1,000), Katherine Ivens, U. of Nebraska; 2nd place ($750), Manasi Nimkar, Kansas State U.; 3rd place ($500), Brigitta Santha, U. of Nebraska.
Mary Ellen Kuhn is Managing Editor of Food Technology magazine