SHIFT20 Virtual Event Scientific Program

Jay Gilbert

IFT Staff

Food Technology Staff

Article Content

    IFT’s annual event has been known across the global food system to have it all: a sprawling expo with 2,000-plus booths, 120 scientific and applied sessions, over 750 technical research paper poster presentations, and networking events that have changed the trajectory of many attendees’ careers. While these are the ingredients that make IFT20 an unforgettable experience, the scientific program and the food expo are often viewed as entirely separate experiences, as if you were attending two different conferences. With the current shift to creating a virtual event, IFT is seizing the opportunity to reconceive the annual event to create a more cohesive, seamless experience.

    Aptly named SHIFT20, the new integrated model will be accomplished by ensuring that research, science, and technology are brought to the forefront of everything we do. The scientific program will utilize a new organizing structure with an overarching theme. That theme will challenge our community to think bigger and bolder to solve some of the world’s biggest food issues. It will be discussed from different focal points: food safety, sustainability, science and technology, health and wellness, and innovation.

    Rightly named SHIFT20, the new integrated model will be accomplished by ensuring that research, science, and technology are brought to the forefront of everything we do.

    Each topical area will be anchored by a provocative panel discussion setting the stage for a series of presentations, discussions, and fireside chats that take a closer look at the research, science, and technology surrounding these important issues. Individual scientific sessions that relate to these various topics will be labeled as such, helping to showcase how our community is addressing that overarching theme and challenge. Technical research papers will also be integrated into a more seamless scientific experience that aligns science with similar science rather than using the presentation format as the organizing principle.

    The event will kick off with April Rinne exploring the critical role that food science, emerging technologies, and the food industry will need to play in addressing food security in the face of global climate change and other imminent crises. Five provocative panel discussions will bring together multidisciplinary voices to address topics such as the data revolution, equitable distribution of nutrition, extinguishing food deserts, and minimizing waste.

    Individual scientific sessions will be prerecorded and available on demand for attendees to view at their leisure during IFT20 and throughout the following year. While the sessions will be prerecorded, session presenters will be provided with unique opportunities to engage with IFT20 attendees, both during the event and throughout the following year. This will help transform SHIFT20’s scientific program into a year-round experience. Technical research papers will also be viewable on demand for a full year. Exhibitors will be invited to take full advantage of the virtual platform by hosting content and events in a holistic approach to solving their clients’ problems.

    IFT20 is where the annual event shifts to a new, more impactful experience. Join your community and register today!

    See Food Innovation With a Whole New Lens at IFT20

    If ever there was a time for thinking creatively about the future of food innovation, it’s now. And SHIFT20, the IFT Virtual Event and Expo, has been carefully crafted to deliver on that. Here’s a preview of some of the exciting virtual programming planned for Monday through Wednesday, July 13–15.

    Because this year’s event is virtual, there’s a major bonus benefit: All those who register for it will have access to a comprehensive catalog of on-demand programming for a full year.

    Insights From a Global Citizen

    SHIFT20 Virtual Event Keynote: April Rinne

    Insights From a Global Citizen

    SHIFT20 Virtual Event Keynote: April Rinne

    The SHIFT20 Virtual Event and Expo will kick off with a thought-provoking keynote address by April Rinne, a member of the World Economic Forum, speaker, writer, and authority on the new economy, future of work, and global citizenship. In her keynote address on Monday morning, July 13, Rinne will explore the critical roles that food science, emerging technologies, and the food industry must explore in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic and global climate change. The keynote format will include opportunities to ask questions and share insights.

    Rinne’s worldview has been shaped by her commitment to understanding how the rest of the world lives. A self-described “global citizen,” Rinne has traveled to more than 100 countries, worked in more than 50, and lived outside the United States for more than a decade. A Fulbright Scholar with a law degree from Harvard and a master’s degree in international business and finance, she advises startups and established companies, governments, policy makers, and investors, among many others.

    The Future of Food Safety

    SHIFT20 Virtual Event Featured Speaker: Frank Yiannas

    The Future of Food Safety

    SHIFT20 Virtual Event Featured Speaker: Frank Yiannas

    U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Deputy Commissioner for Food Policy and Response Frank Yiannas will participate in a live discussion Tuesday afternoon, July 14, where he’ll speak to issues related to food safety and security now and in the future, including a live question-and-answer session with event attendees.

    Yiannas is the principal advisor to FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn in the development and execution of policies related to food safety, including implementation of the landmark Food Safety Modernization Act. His leadership role within the agency covers a broad spectrum of food safety priorities, such as outbreak response, traceback investigations, product recall activities, and supply chain innovation across the full spectrum of FDA-regulated products.

    Hacking Future Tastes

    SHIFT20 Virtual Event Featured Speaker: Eve Turow Paul

    Hacking Future Tastes

    SHIFT20 Virtual Event Featured Speaker: Eve Turow Paul

    Author/thought leader Eve Turow-Paul, an expert on youth culture and the food system, will lead a virtual product development hacka-thon on Wednesday, July 15, from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. CT.

    Turow-Paul’s work as a writer and advisor has focused on the intersection of food trends, the digital age, and well-being. She has researched the ways in which current and future technologies and cultural events affect consumers’ wants and needs—particularly millennials and Generation Z.

    The author of two books, A Taste of Generation Yum, an acclaimed exploration of millennials’ impact on the future of food, and the just-released Hungry, Turow-Paul believes that it’s important not only to know what the trends are but also to understand why they are the trends.

    Big Ideas, New Insights

    IFT20 scientific and applied sessions are focused on an exploration of the planet’s sustainability and its impact on the global food supply. Specifically, scientific program content has been planned to help address this overarching question: Is our food system the single biggest threat to the environment and our survival? Panel discussions are scheduled in the following topical areas, setting the stage for a series of additional sessions related to five key themes.

    Health and Nutrition

    Panel: Striving for the Equitable Distribution of Nutrition

    In this panel discussion and related sessions, presenters will examine how to best solve today’s issues of nutritional scarcity.

    Food Safety and Security

    Panel: Data Revolution: Is Food Safety Sitting on the Sidelines?

    This panel discussion will address what we have learned from the COVID-19 pandemic and what is needed to leverage data and analytics in the future for food safety.


    Panel: Our Food System Is Killing Our Earth—What Are We Going to Do About It?

    Mass cultivation and production of food have tremendous impacts on the health of our planet. The focus in this panel and supporting sessions will be on how we can best balance consumer wants and business needs while protecting the future of our planet.

    Science and Technology

    Panel: Building Food Security Into Resilient Cities

    With more than two-thirds of the population expected to be living in mega cities by the year 2050, working together to build a more secure food system for the future is a priority. This panel and supporting sessions will explore options for achieving that goal.


    Panel: Stop Wasting Waste—Upcycling Our Future

    This panel and supporting sessions will focus on new ways of preventing waste and upcycling ingredients and packaging to make the food system more sustainable.

    In addition to the 100-plus scientific sessions, more than 750 technical research sessions will be part of IFT20 programming. New to this year’s format is a Research Showcase in which selected researchers will share their insights in a TED Talk format that will include an interactive question-and-answer period.

     The rich schedule of content will also feature more than a dozen IFTNEXT presentations, discussions, and debates addressing high-profile and sometimes controversial topics as well a series of sessions focused on two high-interest topics: cannabis and plant-based and alternative proteins.

    Introducing the IFT20 Virtual Expo

    IFT’s first-ever virtual expo will allow IFT20 registrants to explore the latest products, services, and solutions from an array of virtual exhibitors. They will have the opportunity to do all of the following:

    • Experience real-time and on-demand presentations of products and solutions soon to go to market

    • Speak with problem-solving product experts

    • Easily search and access solutions by company or product

    • Explore case studies, product research, and demonstrations to help facilitate well-informed purchasing decisions

    • Ask questions and get the answers needed to solve product development challenges

    About the Author

    Jay Gilbert is Director, Scientific Programs & Career Pathways, IFT ([email protected]) and Food Technology Staff.