CHICAGO-The sponsors of Worldwide Food Expo 2003 say this year's event has been among the biggest and best ever.

Scene from the 2003 Worldwide Food Expo.

The show hosted 28,000 attendees from more than 100 countries around the globe. The show featured more than 1,200 exhibitors on 1.2 million square feet of floor space. A significant measure of success this year was the show's popularity among food and beverage manufacturers, packers, processors and bottlers of all kinds.

"This year's show has yielded the highest number of qualified buyers as a ratio of total attendees in the history of Worldwide Food Expo -- all the way back to 1997," said IAFIS President Charlie Bray. "More than a third of our audience over the four days of the show were processors, packers, bottlers and manufacturers looking for new technologies on the show floor."

The Expo was also the most varied ever in terms of the types of processing, packaging, equipment, ingredients and services.

"This was truly a worldwide, food-wide event, particularly with the added involvement of IBWA and AFFI representing bottled water and frozen foods, and with several other significant organizations taking part in the event," said IDFA President and CEO E. Linwood Tipton.

In addition to the lead trade associations, supporting sponsors included the Meat Importers Council of America, Beverage Marketing Corporation, Quality Chekd Dairies Inc., All Star Dairy Association, and the United States Hide Skin and Leather Association. Other associations also co-located conferences and programming with the major global food technology exposition. More than 80 educational sessions were held in conjunction with the show.