First Logo Date Stacked
First Logo Date Stacked

CHICAGO – April 27, 2021 – Registration is now open for Food Improved by Research, Science, and Technology (FIRST), a new digital experience powered by the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT). Programming and presentations will take place virtually from July 19-21, 2021 while the Solution Exchange will be offered from July 19-23, 2021. FIRST, a new AI-enabled experience, will provide an interactive, personalized platform that brings together international communities to solve food-centric challenges and spark innovation to benefit the global population.

Trained chef, television personality, and author Carla Hall will serve as host for the three-day event. Keynote speakers are Ambassador Ertharin Cousin, Founder and CEO of Food Systems for the Future and Dr. Lisa Dyson, Founder & CEO of Air Protein. Claire Schlemme, Founder and CEO of Renewal Mill and winner of IFT’s inaugural IFTNEXT Food Disruption Challenge pitch event, will host this year’s IFTNEXT Food Disruption Challenge.

“As a science of food and innovation community, IFT is uniquely positioned to convene global experts, entrepreneurs, and solution providers to collectively discuss and ignite new and innovative ways to solve our greatest food-related challenges,” said IFT CEO Christie-Tarantino Dean. “While we can’t be physically together, IFT is excited to launch FIRST and provide attendees with a personalized, solution-packed forum to solve problems, share knowledge, and expand strategic connections.”

New this year, FIRST will feature a robust matchmaking program called FIRST Solution Exchange, which will offer customized supplier recommendations, curate one-on-one meetings, and feature interactive showrooms. Extending this experience will be Solution Suites, a comprehensive virtual marketplace where participants can peruse supplier showrooms to learn and engage with experts about the latest products and services.

Other key aspects of the digital experience include:

  • Curated Scientific Program: The scientific programming will focus on answering the question “Zero Hunger: Will we get there?” Sessions will feature the latest insights, research, and industry solutions aimed at addressing the global hunger crisis.
  • Supplier Showcase: Attendees will gain insights into emerging trends, access valuable business resources, and make strategic connections through interactive and on-demand presentations and showcases from suppliers, all designed to further career and business opportunities.
  • Startup Central: Innovative startup companies from around the globe will showcase their products and services as part of Startup Central. Startu/ulp programming and networking opportunities will also be offered for anyone interested in furthering their food science and business acumen and expanding their professional ecosystem.

To learn more and register, please visit


About IFT
The Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) is a global organization of approximately 12,000 individual members from 95 countries committed to advancing the science of food. Since 1939, IFT has brought together the brightest minds in food science, technology and related professions from academia, government, and industry to solve the world's greatest food challenges. Our organization works to ensure that our members have the resources they need to learn, grow, and advance the science of food as the population and the world evolve. We believe that science is essential to ensuring a global food supply that is sustainable, safe, nutritious, and accessible to all. For more information, please visit

IFT20 Annual Event & Food Expo
IFT20 Chicago IL
Join Us Online right arrow
FIRST, IFT’s new Annual Event and Digital Experience is one of the largest events of its kind bringing together science of food professionals from around the globe representing all segments of the food profession—research and design, ingredients, safety and quality, technology, equipment, processing, packaging, manufacturing, suppliers and buyers, policy makers, and academics—all converging with the intention to inspire and transform collective knowledge into innovative solutions to help advance our planet’s food safety, nutrition, and sustainability.