Worldwide Food Expo is upon us, and this year's show is bigger and more exciting than ever. Exhibitors and attendee registration are up, and the new Beverage Zone, groups together suppliers that focus on the ever-broadening beverage categories. We also have great tips on visiting Chicago, including attractions, architecture and steakhouses.

The U.S. dairy industry's most important tradeshow is just around the corner, and Worldwide Food Expo ‘03 appears to be shaping up into what will be a smashing success.

"It is great to see that our vision of a U.S.-located ‘world-wide, food-wide' show is becoming a reality. This is an event that no one in the food industry can afford to miss," said IDFA senior group v.p. Connie Tipton.

To attract a record number of attendees from all over the world, Worldwide Food Expo introduced new dates this year, with a Wednesday through Saturday show pattern. The show floor will be open from 10:30 to 5:00 on Wednesday through Friday, and 10:00 to 4:00 on Saturday.

"We've listened carefully to our exhibitors and are confident that this show pattern will be a winner for them," said Charlie Bray, president of the International Association of Food Industry Suppliers (IAFIS). Previously, the show followed a Thursday through Sunday pattern. "The extra week-day will be a boon to attendance, while still leaving a weekend day for those who can't attend during the week."

International registration for Worldwide Food Expo is also showing an increase over the 2001 show, with significant delegations expected from Mexico, Japan, China, Chile, Costa Rica, Philippines, India and Brazil, as well as other countries in Asia, Europe and Latin America. Thousands of international visitors are expected from more than 150 countries.

There will be more than 1,200 exhibitors in 1.2 million square feet of floor space, new food categories, and lots of programming. So get your walking shoes on, and enjoy the show.

Former secretary of state slated for opening session

Shifting political climates and economic uncertainties lead food and beverage industry executives world-wide to ask, what lies ahead and what will it mean for business opportunities today and in the future?

One of the world's most prominent and respected leaders, former U.S. Secretary of State James Baker III will share his perspective on these complex questions in the opening general session of Worldwide Food Expo '03, "A Conversation with James Baker: World Politics, Economics & Today's Business Environment," on Wednesday, October 29.

Baker served as U.S. secretary of state from 1989 to 1992 under President George H.W. Bush; and as White House chief of staff, and later as U.S. secretary of the treasury, during the Reagan Administration. Baker's session is one of the highlights of an educational program that will include an expanded selection of dairy programming sponsored by the IDFA, All Star Dairy Association, Quality Chekd Dairies and leading experts. There will be cutting-edge beverage workshops from Beverage Marketing Corp., the latest on milk marketing from the Milk Processor Education Program (MilkPEP), the conference of the International Bottled Water Association, and a frozen food track from the American Frozen Food Institute. One badge gets attendees into any of the educational sessions.

In addition, IDFA will hold a special Health Claims Workshop immediately before Expo at the Chicago Hilton & Towers. This meeting requires separate registration, but attendees will receive complimentary passes to Worldwide Food Expo (see related article). MilkPEP board members will also meet on Tuesday.

Wednesday morning's program-ming includes a session on high-tech cheese plants, a discussion of the need for dairy standards, and an informative session on the latest nutritional science regarding dairy and weight loss. Thursday morning highlights include a case study on building a probiotic dairy product, a program on HACCP certification for dairy professionals, and discussions on milk's position in weightloss, the effects of long shelf life on milk availability, and new research on milk vending.

Friday's programming includes IDFA's Washington Insider Breakfast, and sessions on high tech milk and cheese plants, new tools for measuring plant efficiency, and milk price regulations.

Also on Friday morning, the Water Quality Assn.'s Conference will feature a session on membrane and ozone system design & application for dairy & bottled water operations. This presentation reviews UF and RO membranes for typical dairy plant operations with a comprehensive overview of integrating membrane and ozone technologies for producing bottled water.

Throughout Worldwide Food Expo, special sessions called "Dairy Tech," "Food Tech" and "Meat Tech" will also feature 20-minute technical papers from equipment and ingredient suppliers offering new technology to the food processing industry.

All told, Worldwide Food Expo '03 will feature more than 60 educational workshops addressing food and beverage industry issues such as consumer trends, bioterrorism and food security, nutrition, financial reporting, media relations and design-build. In addition to this general programming, there are five educational tracks catering to specific industry interests, organized by the show's sponsors.

Time to network

As always, Worldwide Food Expo offers great opportunities for networking and socializing, with a full slate of evening social events. And, because Expo '03 is scheduled to coincide with Halloween, it will include a special event on Friday night to celebrate the magical holiday. Most events require the purchase of a separate ticket.

On Wednesday night, IDFA and IAFIS get things started with a Welcome to Chicago Reception at the Chicago Hilton & Towers, Ballroom. The theme is "A Global Adventure," and attendees will sample the cuisine of Asia, Central America, Europe and the U.S. - all while listening to live musicians from around the globe. It's a great way to make connections and kick off a successful global experience at the Expo. The reception begins at 6 p.m.

On Thursday, the invitation only Food, Dairy & Beverage International Reception, welcomes attendees who have traveled from around the globe for Worldwide Food Expo. The event is co-sponsored by USDEC and Packaging Technologies. The satirical and wickedly funny Second City comedy troupe performs at the IBWA Chairman's Banquet on Thursday, providing attendees and exhibitors with a chance to enjoy a unique Chicago experience.

Business and politics are served up with coffee and eggs on Friday morning, as national political correspondent Fred Barnes headlines the Washington Insider Breakfast. A well-known Washington pundit, Barnes has served as the executive editor of The Weekly Standard and as the co-host of Fox News Channel's "The Beltway Boys."

Finally, celebrate All Hallows Eve with the Moonlight Magic food dairy and beverage reception. The special event, scheduled for 6 to 7:30 P.M. Friday at the Chicago Hilton & Towers, will include tarot card and palm readers, magicians, carnival performers and cabaret-music all help set the stage for a magical evening. Mix and connect with the world's leading food, dairy and beverage professionals during an exciting evening of music, mystery, great food and drink, and celebration.

Charlie Bray

Side bar: IAFIS President Announces Resignation

Charlie Bray, president of the International Assn. of Food Industry Suppliers (IAFIS) for the past six years, announced last month that he is resigning his post to take advantage of a career opportunity that is "too good to pass up."

IAFIS is one of the sponsoring organizations of World Wide Food Expo, and Bray will remain as president through the end of Expo'03. IAFIS is also one of the five founding members of 3-A Sanitary Standards, Inc.

"Charlie's resignation is bittersweet in that we all regret seeing Charlie leave, but simultaneously are very excited for him and wish him the best in his most recent career move," said Stephen Schlegel, the organization's chairman.

Schlegel said at the time of the announcement in mid September that IAFIS' Board and Executive Committee were forming a search committee, and securing the services of a search firm to find a replacement.

Schedule at-a-Glance

Wednesday, October 29

8 am - 9:30 am
Educational Program
9:30 am - 10:30 am
IDFA and Joint Partners
Opening General Session

10:30 am - 5:00 pm
Exposition Open
6 pm - 7:30 pm
IDFA & IAFIS "Welcome to Chicago" Reception

Thursday, October 30

8 am - 10:30 am
Educational Program
10:30 am - 5:00 pm
Exposition Open
5 pm - 6:00 pm
International Reception (for international guests)

Friday, October 31

7 am - 8:15 am
Washington Insider Breakfast
8 am - 10:30 am
Educational Program
10:30 am - 5:00 pm
Exposition Open
6 pm - 7:30 pm
Food, Dairy & Beverage Reception

Saturday, November 1

10 am - 4 pm
Exposition Open

Sidebar: Health Claims Workshop Can Help Dairy Processors Beat the Drum

In conjunction with Worldwide Food Expo '03, IDFA will conduct a new workshop "A Healthy Pitch: Compelling Health Claims for Your Dairy Products."

The all-day workshop will teach dairy processors how to understand and apply new flexibility in federal rules on food health claims in order to better market their products. Workshop attendees will receive a complimentary registration to Expo '03.

There are seven sessions:

* The Competitive Environment-
Claims Other Foods and Beverages are Making.

* The Consumer Environment-
What Claims Consumers Find Compelling

  • Types of Claims

  • Communicating the Benefits of Dairy Products

  • New FDA Environment for Claims

  • Emerging Research on the Health Benefits of Dairy

  • Making a Healthy Pitch
Invited speakers include Camille Gibson, v.p. of retail marketing at Yoplait-Columbo, Mary Ellen Spencer, v.p. of marketing at H.P. Hood, and Elizabeth Campbell, senior consultant at ACC Consulting, and former chief of FDA's Office of Food Labeling.

Register online at www.idfa,org, or call or e-mail Tanika Manning at 202/220-3557 The workshop is being held at the Chicago Hilton & Towers which is one of the IDFA/IAFIS headquarter hotels.

Click here to download a PDF of our 2003 WWFE Exhibitor List/Map