IFT turned 75 years old this year, and we continue to be a leader in food science and technology. Whether it’s our events, publications, educational opportunities, or our advocacy efforts, our success is made possible by our volunteers. Thanks to all of you, we have a lot to celebrate this holiday season at the Institute of Food Technologists. What a successful year it has been.
More than 16,500 of the world’s top food professionals joined us in New Orleans for our Annual Meeting and Food Expo, where we had 125 sessions, 1,100 poster presentations, and 30 competitions. Wellness 14 attracted hundreds to Chicago to learn about healthy snack foods. These events, along with a variety of webcasts and online learning options throughout the year, created important educational opportunities generated by, and for, our members. We also launched a new online community called IFT Connect to offer new ways for our members to engage and learn from each other throughout the year.
As stewards of the profession, we raised more than $100,000 dollars for scholarships at our IFTSA/Feeding Tomorrow Fun Run & Walk, and we grew our Certified Food Scientist program to almost 1,600 of us in 55 countries. We reinvigorated our IFT Career Center to make it the preferred recruitment resource for our profession, and our latest IFT Employment & Salary Survey shed new light on compensation, benefits, stress, and job satisfaction among food scientists.
To mark our anniversary, we created an interactive timeline of the history of food science and technology. You can find it on our 75th anniversary web page, IFT.org/75. At the event in New Orleans, our longtime members helped chronicle IFT’s history by creating an expansive 75-year timeline in the Food Expo’s Innovation Center.
As an innovation catalyst, we showcased food science research through our publications and our scientific program. We started a popular new video series called Take 5 for Food Science, so you could hear directly from researchers publishing in the Journal of Food Science.
We advocated for the profession with our consumer education efforts, and we sparked a dialogue on issues of concern to our members. We established our FutureFood 2050 initiative with an informative FutureFood2050.com website and a documentary in production to address the challenges of feeding a growing world population.
We produced many new videos for our Food Facts web page, IFTFoodFacts.org and created two new videos for our Day in the Life of a Food Scientist series. One features an FDA food scientist, and the other highlights two food science students competing on the television show The Amazing Race. You can see those videos on our web page ift.org/DayInTheLife.
As a global organization, we’ve expanded our partnerships around the world. We took part in more than a dozen international conferences. Our student association, IFTSA, welcomed three new chapters, including one at Middle Eastern Technical University in Turkey— the first outside of North America.
Our Global Food Traceability Center received a grant from the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security’s National Center for Food Protection and Defense. The center will work to create a decision support model for the use of traceability to identify and mitigate food defense risks and vulnerabilities.
In the new year, our Anticipatory Foresight Project will continue to forecast how key trends in the food technology profession may develop in the future. We want to help our members understand what’s on the horizon to make better decisions for their careers and for their organizations.
Our next Annual Meeting will have a new look and a new name: IFT15: Where Science Feeds Innovation. It will be an exciting, engaging, and beneficial event for everyone who attends, July 11–14 at McCormick Place in Chicago. We plan to preview portions of our FutureFood 2050 documentary, Food Evolution, during the event, so you won’t want to miss that.
2014 has brought some key changes at IFT headquarters. In April our new executive vice president, Christie Tarantino, joined us to lead operations. Kelly Fox, our new vice president for meetings, is overseeing the innovations for IFT15. Kate Dockins joined IFT in September in a new position, director of membership leadership, that was identified by the Leadership Development Task Force as a crucial need for our members. Our Chicago office expanded to add a new multipurpose room named the Donald E. Pszczola Ideation Center in honor of our late Food Technology senior editor.
On behalf of IFT’s Board of Directors and staff, thank you for all your support and dedication, and I wish you and your family a wonderful holiday season and a happy and healthy new year.
Mary Ellen Camire, Ph.D., CFS,
IFT President, 2014–2015
Professor, Univ. of Maine, Orono, Maine