The biennial show is one of the largest food shows in North America, and draws an international audience of food manufacturers. This year there is a heightened focus on dairy as the world comes to Chicago. Includes a guide to Chicago and booth highlights.

Chicago is the big city in the Midwest-the capitol of the bread basket, so to speak. And on odd numbered years, it also plays host to one of the largest international food exhibitions in the world. Worldwide Food Expo will bring more than 25,000 industry leaders from 100 countries to see the largest North American display of food industry suppliers in one location.

WWFE features two co-located events: the IDFA Food, Dairy & Beverage Exposition and the AMI International Meat, Poultry & Seafood Convention and Exposition.

The Food Dairy and Beverage show is more focused on dairy than ever, with IDFA being the sole manager of the show.

 “We represent the dairy professionals, and they’ll be at this event,” says Susan Ruland, IDFA’s v.p. of communications and meetings. 

“The exhibitors on the show floor consider this the leading dairy-focused event in North America-all the major suppliers of dairy innovations are at Worldwide Food Expo.  And we’ve beefed up the program even more this year with dairy operations and management staff in mind.”

More than 1,000 exhibitors will include the most important ingredient, equipment, packaging and service suppliers for the dairy processor.

A new feature of this year’s event is a greater focus on the beverage business, which is a great draw for companies in the business of milk and dairy beverages.

“We’re thrilled to have the sponsorship and participation of the American Beverage Association (ABA),” Ruland says. “ABA will be holding its board meetings in conjunction with the show, is running a special track of beverage educational sessions, and will feature an exciting Beverage Bar, sponsored by InterBev 2008, on our show floor.  You’ll be able to sample a wide range of new beverages at the bar.” 

Also in terms of the global beverage business, WWFE once again has the support of Munich-based drinktec, one of the world’s largest beverage trade shows.  The drinktec 2009 staff will be exhibiting at the show, and holding a special reception; drinktec has helped market WWFE in Europe.

“For the many dairy professionals interested in the beverage business, this is an added bonus to this year’s Worldwide Food Expo.  Expo has always attracted beverage industry professionals, but we expect even more this year-it’s a great opportunity for milk processors in particular to network and glean new ideas from the beverage industry,” Ruland says.

More than anything, IDFA is marketing Worldwide Food Expo as the Dairy Show for dairy foods processors. Its biennial scheduling makes it a must for those in the business, and its central location, in one of America’s great cities, provides an ideal location.

Conference programming

The educational programs really do have quite a bit to offer attendees. This includes three very strong pre-show Expo workshops for dairy professionals-on labeling, HACCP and a Dairy Industry Orientation course (which will be held at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and include a tour).  These will be held Monday and Tuesday, Oct. 22-23, and the speakers for these workshops include experts from IDFA staff, and USDA staff, as well as professional consultants who serve the industry.

IDFA’s Advanced HACCP Short Course for Dairy & Juice Products will use team exercises and expert presentations to provide comprehensive instruction on the development of HACCP food safety programs within all dairy and juice operations. The two-day short course is designed to meet the training requirements established for Grade-A dairy plants as well as FDA’s juice HACCP regulation.

On Tuesday Oct. 23, new dairy professionals can find out more about the complexities and idiosyncrasies of the $90-billion U.S. dairy industry.

The new one-day Dairy Industry Orientation meeting is lead by seasoned instructor Bob Yonkers, IDFA chief economist and policy analyst. Also on Tuesday, attendees can choose the IDFA Labeling Workshop. Topics will include organic, and no-rBST labeling, updates on FDA regulation, a report on consumer attitudes and perceptions, and details about communication functional ingredient and health claims.

Speakers will include FDA staff and IDFA’s v.p. of regulatory affairs, Cary Frye.

The conference itself kicks off on Wednesday Oct. 24, and Wednesday’s sessions will include: Plant Operations Shortcourse on Flexible Production Lines; Food Recall Case Study and Communicating in a Crisis; Global Market Trends, Functional Beverages.

Thursday’s program will include: USDA Dairy Inspection Grading Program; Plant Operations Shortcourse on Six Sigma for the Food Industry; Global Beverage Trends and Succession Planning.  

The Dairy Plant Operations Shortcourse on Friday focuses on Technology for tracking Milk Processing. Other sessions include Sustainable Packaging for Dairy; Tracability Farm to Fork; Safety in the Dairy Plant, and Processing, Ingredients and Formulation.

Saturday is free

For those who simply can’t get away from the plant or the office, a one-day trip on Saturday is an option, and it’s free!

Attendees can chose from two concurrent sessions:

Food Safety Short Course-Listeria Intervention and Control:  This course is designed to provide in-depth discussions on industry best practices, implementing appropriate and effective microbial interventions, and compliance with regulatory requirements. Taught by operations and safety experts from the field and noted industry scientists, the course is ideally suited for new and future food safety and quality assurance personnel. Speakers will include: Randy Huffman, Ph.D., vice president, scientific affairs, AMI Foundation; John Butts, Ph.D., vice president, research, Land O’Frost; Dale Fredell, manager, education services, Ecolab, Inc.; John Weisgerber, president, Weisgerber Consulting, LLC; Bob Reinhard, director, food safety, Sara Lee Food and Beverage; and Tim Freier, Ph.D., director, global food safety technologies, Cargill, Inc.

Industry Short Course-Family Business: In this program attendees will learn to define and optimize the roles and responsibilities of owners, family members, independent board members and the executive team as they face the unique set of challenges posed by family business governance. This session will be led by Drew Mendoza, managing principle, Family Business Consulting Group.

Both sessions will run from 8 a.m. to noon. Saturday exhibit hall hours are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., providing attendees plenty of time to visit the 1.2 million square feet of exhibit space and see many of the exhibiting companies. Free Saturday registration is open to qualified buyers (packers and processors).

For additional information or to register, see the registration form on The website also offers a floorplan and a personal planner-MyExpo.

Worldwide Food Expo 2007 Schedule

Monday, October 22

8:00 am – 5:00 pm Advanced HACCP Certification Short Course for Dairy and Juice Products*, Day One, Hilton Chicago

1:00 pm – 5:00 pm Expo Registration

Tuesday, October 23

7:00 am – 5:00 pm-Expo Registration

8:00 am – 5:00 pm-Advanced HACCP Certification Short Course for Dairy and Juice Products, Day Two*, Hilton Chicago

8:00 am – 5:00 pm-IDFA’s Labeling Workshop: Trends and Issues for Dairy Products*, Embassy Suites Lakefront Chicago

8:00 am – 5:00 pm-Dairy Industry Orientation*, Chicago Mercantile Exchange

10:00 am – 5:15 pm-Meat Industry Research Conference,* Day One – McCormick Place

Wednesday, October 24

7:00 am – 5:00 pm-Registration

8:00 am – 12:30 pm-Meat Industry Research Conference,* Day Two – McCormick Place

8:15 am – 11:30 am-Educational Programs and Super Session I

11:30 am – 5:00 pm-Exhibit Floor Open

5:00 pm - 7:00 pm-AMI Environmental MAPS Program Reception (Invitation only)

6:00 pm – 7:30 pm-IDFA Opening Reception* – Hilton Chicago

Thursday, October 25

7:00 am – 5:00 pm-Registration

8:15 am – 11:30 am-Educational Programs and Super Session II

11:30 am – 5:00 pm-Exhibit Floor Open

5:00 pm – 6:00 pm-International Reception – McCormick Place (Invitation Only)

5:00 pm – 6:00 pm-National Provisioner Awards Reception

Friday, October 26

7:00 am – 5:00 pm-Registration

8:15 am – 9:15 am-AMI Washington Insider Breakfast*

8:15 am – 11:30 am-Educational Programs and Super Session III

9:30 am-10:30 am-AMI General Session and Awards

11:30 am – 5:00 pm-Exhibit Floor Open

6:30 pm – 10:30 pm-AMI Chairman’s Gala* – Hyatt Regency Chicago

Saturday, October 27

7:00 am – 2:00 pm-Registration

8:00 am – 12:00 pm-Educational Program and Conference Sessions

10:00 am – 2:00 pm-Exhibit Hours

* Separate Registration or Ticket Required