The Institute of Food Technologists’ IFT Annual Meeting & Food Expo drew 18,231 individuals who registered for this year’s event. More than 900 companies exhibited in five categories and hundreds of subcategories. There was a robust education platform with more than 100 sessions and more than 1,200 poster presentations and IFT’s Taste the Expo program, is a perennial favorite that enables visitors to taste and obtain product samples.

Show attendees were able to reconnect with friends and colleagues on June 25 during a networking reception at the Las Vegas Convention Center and return to the venue the following morning to hear Starbucks CEO, president and chairman Howard Schultz deliver this year’s keynote session on the importance of scientific innovation in creating thriving companies and communities.

IFT president-elect John Ruff and incoming president-elect Janet Collins also presented the 2012 IFT Food Expo Innovation Awards, which recognize advancements in the food industry, during the Tuesday morning event. The winners are as follows:

Advantix Systems, North Miami Beach, Fla., garnered the award for its liquid desiccant dehumidification and cooling technology, which reduces energy use by 50%.

Ampac, Cincinnati, won the award for its No. 2 pouch, recyclable packaging made from a coextruded film blend of predominantly high-density polyethylene (HDPE) that yields a pouch with excellent stiffness and strength characteristics as well as offers a high barrier to moisture and excellent puncture resistance.

Ecolab Inc., St. Paul, Minn., was honored for its residual antimicrobial coatings (RAC) program, which consists of products registered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that enhance food safety by providing improved microorganism control of plant nonfood contact environmental surfaces.

Glanbia Nutritionals, Fitchburg, Wis., a division of Glanbia plc, captured the award for its Optisol 2000 binding system for sugar reduction. The binding system is a milk protein concentrate that can reduce sugar usage by up to 50% in many food applications, such as baked and chewy type granola bars, cereal clusters and other snack products.

The 2013 IFT Meeting & Food Expo will be held in Chicago July 13-16. For information, visit