In our rapidly changing business climate, it’s easy to fall behind. That’s particularly true when it comes to the food industry. Staying on top of new food science innovations, applications and trends can be tricky, but with the IFT (Institute of Food Technologists) 2012 Annual Meeting & Food Expo, June 25-28, at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, you get a one-stop experience where food science and technology come together. 

Peers, customers and your competition will attend this year’s expo, and you can discover for yourself why it’s a must-attend event for professionals involved in both the science and the business of food. Overall, more than 900 exhibitors will be spotlighting the next hot trends, new ingredients and the future of food processing, as well as instrumentation, services, processing and packaging technologies and the latest insights on the global food industry.

In four days, the expo, hosted by the Institute of Food Technologies, Chicago, will showcase specialty pavilions created to provide educational forums and presentations that hone in on the latest trends, tastings and the global marketplace. You can also find out about the newest advances, expand your skills and familiarity with the latest scientific applications.

Starbucks president chief executive officer and chairman Howard Schultz, this year’s keynote speaker, will discuss “The Importance of Innovation.” Schultz, named Fortune Magazine’s 2011 Businessperson of the Year, has taken an active role in focusing public discussion on the importance of job creation to spur growth in the economy through a partnership between Starbucks and Opportunity Finance Network and the Create Jobs for the USA Initiative. He will share insights on the importance of scientific innovation in creating thriving companies and communities and filling the talent pipeline.

There will also be an awards celebration to honor recipients of the IFT Achievement Awards and the newly elected IFT Fellows. A networking reception allows visitors to connect with old friends and meet new ones while enjoying Las Vegas-style cuisine and entertainment (see schedule).

Also, companies in the food industry will apply the latest sciences at IFT’s Scientific Program, which offers educational sessions divided into major focus areas that are clearly identifiable by specific topics and level of expertise. With this program, you can tailor a learning experience to suit your particular needs.

Conference sessions (see schedule) include topics on dairy, produce, meats and more, filled with new ideas and innovations. IFT offers a variety of educational tracks and formats, as well as opportunities such as a Beacon Lecturer series and Sunrise Sessions. For more details on the education program, visit the education area of IFT’s event website at

Scientific program tracks comprise: Food safety and defense; food, health and nutrition; food processing and packaging; product development and ingredient innovations; sustainability; public policy; food laws and regulations; education and professional development; food chemistry; food microbiology; food engineering; and sensory science.

There is also a group of Sunrise Sessions early on Tuesday and Thursday morning to help start the day, providing overviews of the following topics:

  • Pet Food Market Outlook: What It Is; What It Needs; and What It Takes
  • Carbohydrate Structure, Rheology and Texture
  • Product Development 101: Linking R&D with Ingredient Suppliers
  • An Inside Look at the American Farm and How Sustainable Practices Impact the Food Industry
  • Nanoscale Science for Food: A Primer

There will be a host of specialty and trend pavilions, such as the Asia-Pac Pavilion, which provides a collection of new products, ingredients and exhibitors from the Asia pacific region in one location. The Food Safety & Quality Pavilion spotlights instrumentation, services, processing, packaging technologies and the latest details on food all over the world.

A Global New Products Pavilion, presented by Mintel, Chicago, will showcase new products and the latest trends in consumer packaged food and drink flavors, as well as ingredients and claims. There are also pavilions for Healthy Food Ingredients, Organic Food Ingredients, a Special Events Pavilion, and Taste the Trend, presented by Innova Market Insights, The Netherlands. There, attendees can find trends driving the food and beverage markets now and in the future. The series of sessions will also include more than 200 international products, with the chance for new concepts and tastings, as well as assorted presentations on product development, packaging and technology, flavors and consumer food trends.

IFT also allows you to earn continuing education credits for the Commission on Dietetic Registration, the Research Chefs Association and the Product Development and Management Association. Registration, more details, an exhibitor list and floorplan and housing information are available online at

IFT 2012 Schedule at a Glance (Subject to change)

Saturday, June 23

1:00 – 5:00 p.m. Pre-Annual Meeting Short Course: “Integrating Risk-based Preventive Controls into your HACCP Program”


Sunday, June 24

8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Pre-Annual Meeting Short Courses


Monday, June 25

8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Pre-Annual Meeting Short Courses

5:30 – 6:45 p.m. Awards Celebration

6:45 – 8:15 p.m. Networking Reception


Tuesday, June 26

7:15 – 8:15 a.m. Sunrise Sessions

8:30 – 10:15 a.m. Keynote Session

10:30 a.m. –  2:00 p.m. Scientific Sessions

12:00 – 2:00 p.m. Poster Sessions

12:00 – 5:00 p.m. Career Center Live Career Fair

12:00 – 5:00 p.m. IFT Food Expo

1:30 – 3:00 p.m. Scientific Sessions

3:00 – 5:00 p.m. Poster Sessions

4:00 – :45 p.m. Beacon Lecturer Plenary Session


Wednesday, June 27

6:15 – 7:15 a.m. IFTSA/Feeding Tomorrow Fun Run/Walk

8:30 – 10:00 a.m. Scientific Sessions

8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Career Center Live Formal Interviews

10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. IFT Food Expo

10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Scientific Sessions

11:00 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. Poster Sessions

1:30 – 3:00 p.m. Scientific Sessions

2:30 – 5:00 p.m. Poster Sessions

5:00 – 6:30 p.m. IFT Community Live: Division Connection

6:30 – 11:00 p.m. IFTSA Welcome Assembly and College Bowl Competition


Thursday, June 28

7:15 – 8:15 a.m. Sunrise Sessions

8:30 – 10:00 a.m. Scientific Sessions

8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Career Center Live Formal Interviews

10:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Poster Sessions

10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. IFT Food Expo

10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Scientific Sessions

1:15 – 2:45 p.m. Scientific Sessions

1:30 – 4:00 p.m. Poster Sessions


Friday, June 29

7:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. IFT Cares! Philanthropic Activity