Thousands of food scientists, suppliers, marketers and others from around the world will gather in New Orleans this June 11-14 at the IFT 11 Annual Meeting + Food Expo.

Expo Hours

Sun., June 12 Noon to 5:00 p.m.
Mon., June 13 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Tues., June 14 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Thousands of food scientists, suppliers, marketers and others from around the world will gather in New Orleans this June 11-14 at the IFT 11 Annual Meeting + Food Expo. As the largest annual food science forum and exposition in the world, attendees and exhibitors have the opportunity to exchange thoughts, ideas and recent innovations.

Experts from companies, government agencies and research institutions provide insight during more than 1,000 presentations covering topics ranging from new health and safety benefits and product innovations to the latest consumer favorites, fears and trends. There are a number of sessions geared specifically to dairy processors. (See Must-see Symposia, page 60.) In addition, throughout the technical meeting, make sure you check for dairy-related research presented at the poster session. 

Join other food scientists at the IFT Awards Celebration on Saturday at 5:30 p.m. to honor recipients of the prestigious IFT Achievement Awards and newly elected IFT Fellows. This is your opportunity to congratulate your colleagues for their outstanding achievements and contributions to the field of food science and technology. During the celebration, IFT president Robert Gravani will recap the past year’s IFT accomplishments and introduce Roger Clemens, the incoming IFT president and president-elect. Following the awards ceremony is a networking reception where attendees can connect with old friends and meet new ones while enjoying New Orleans-style cuisine and entertainment.

This year’s keynote session will be in the format of a panel discussion and takes place on Sunday morning (8:30 to 10:15 a.m.). Entitled “Delivering Science: Changing the Image of Food Science in the Marketplace,” the panel features author Michael Specter. In his book, Denialism, How Irrational Thinking Hinders Scientific Progress, Harms the Planet, and Threatens our Lives, Specter argues that by turning our backs on scientific impartiality, we are abandoning rational thought in favor of hearsay, rumors and vague promises. As a result, he sees this impacting consumer purchasing decisions and promulgating a rush to organic foods, as well as vitamins, dietary supplements and “natural” cures that may do no good or may even cause harm. Most importantly, he gives voice to the growing fear that denialism, as he calls the phenomenon, will stifle scientific inquiry and progress, prevent us from solving solvable problems such as famine in third-world countries, and create new windows of opportunity for devastating diseases to appear in the world. Plan to join Specter and a panel of food industry experts in a discussion of this trend and its effect on the food industry.

All IFT members are also invited to the annual IFT Town Hall Meeting, which takes place on Sunday (4:45 to 5:45 p.m.). Attendees will have the chance to learn more about IFT’s current programs and services and to ask questions of members of the Board of Directors.

A scientific forum

This year’s food science forum is organized around key focus areas within the industry, and is based on core sciences that provide the foundation for all things related to food science. This track structure was designed to meet food professionals’ needs by focusing on topic areas of great interest and importance. It also simplifies the program’s structure to make it easier for you to find your sessions.

The program involves experts from private and public companies (manufacturers and suppliers), government agencies and research institutions. Topics range from new health and safety benefits and product innovations to the latest consumer favorites, fears and trends.

The key focus area program tracks are Food Safety & Defense; Food, Health & Nutrition; Food Processing & Packaging; Product Development & Ingredient Innovations; Sustainability; Public Policy, Food Laws & Regulations; and Education & Professional Development. The core science program tracks are: Food Chemistry, Food Microbiology, Food Engineering and Sensory Science.

And don’t forget the Dairy Foods Division Open Leadership/Member Breakfast on Sunday (7:00 to 8:30am) at the Hilton Riverside.

On the expo floor

From beignets to jambalaya, New Orleans is known for its signature dishes. Expect ingredient exhibitors to showcase their wares in many of these famous recipes. To get a glimpse of what some suppliers will be featuring, check out the IFT booth previews starting on page 62.

Returning this year are two pavilions dedicated to innovation. Chicago-based market research firm Mintel sponsors the Global New Products Pavilion, which is the place to be for the latest trends in consumer packaged food and drink flavors, ingredients and claims. Whether it’s a creative new Asian snack or the latest innovations in on-the-go packaging, Mintel’s experts can weigh in on your questions about emerging trends. Stay after the presentation to taste, touch and feel new food and drink products from around the world at Mintel’s tasting sessions, which take place repeatedly during the three days of the show.

The Taste the Trend Pavilion is sponsored by Netherlands-based Innova Market Insights and will focus on accelerating international trends and emerging technologies. Innova will feature a number of presentations focusing on key product development trends with insights on packaging and technology, flavors and consumer trends, complete with opportunities for new beverage concepts/tastings. 

Take a self-guided Trend & Solution Tour to discover the companies offering products or services related to some of the most significant issues and trends facing the food industry. Tour topics are: Ingredients for Functional Foods, New Direction for Carbs, Next-Generation Fats and Oils, Taste Modification and Weight Management and Diabetes. Printed guides for each tour will be located at the entrances to the Food Expo.

For more information on the technical program and a list of exhibitors, visit

Dairy Ingredients Complement Food Trends

The U.S. Ingredients Program of U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC), Arlington, Va., will highlight innovative applications for dairy ingredients at this year’s Food Expo. Plan to visit booth #6139 to learn how U.S. dairy ingredients can contribute to improved taste, functionality and nutrition for a variety of products targeting different consumer groups. Valuable information on innovation resources, including research labs, product and nutrition researchers and knowledgeable food scientists will be available to show how dairy ingredients are solving today’s formulation challenges.

Visit the various trend stations to sample supportive prototypes. The themes are:

Protein throughout the day - Emerging research suggests spacing protein intake throughout the day provides optimal benefits. A number of prototypes have been developed around this theme to address getting enough protein at different times throughout the day - from a protein-packed breakfast waffle to a chilled pasta salad made with cheese and whey protein pasta.

Sodium reduction - Americans are being urged to cut back on salt and food and beverage manufacturers are looking for solutions. Permeate, a dairy ingredient, provides salty characteristics while helping formulators reduce sodium content levels in products without sacrificing taste.

Healthy aging - With age, most experience a loss of muscle, or muscle wasting. Food and beverage manufacturers can leverage the quality and value of whey protein in product innovations to reach the mature consumer interested in maintaining muscle strength to support an active lifestyle.

Yogurt as an ingredient - As consumers look for ways to improve their eating habits, yogurt is being viewed in a new light as a valued dairy ingredient. Yogurt can be used as a functional ingredient in products for added flavor and nutrition. Attendees will be able to sample a refreshing, savory, yogurt-based beverage that takes its flavor cues from the Mediterranean.

In addition, the prototypes will showcase trends related to simple labeling, satiety, the versatility and functionality of cheese, and a variety of application options using whey protein to drive the next generation of nutritious foods and beverages.

For more information about the market, product and nutrition research, and application resources provided by the U.S. Ingredients program at USDEC, or to learn the latest information on dairy-related research and information,

Must-see Symposia

Session 20 - Rethinking Protein Requirements and Recommendations: Beyond Muscle; Sunday, 10:30 a.m. to noon
Session 79 - Sustainable Food Systems: Nutrition and the Environment; Sunday, 1:30 to 3:00 p.m.
Session 136 - Snacking: Insight and Perspectives on Contributions to the American Diet; Monday, 10:30 a.m. to noon
Session 182 - Current Trends in Texture Design of Food: Rheological and Textural Studies on Carbohydrate Technology Systems; Monday, 1:30 to 3:00 p.m. 
Session 220 - New Processing of Dairy Ingredients; Tuesday, 8:30 to 10:00 a.m.
Session 274 - Natural Ingredient Opportunities Using Dairy Co-products; Tuesday, 1:15 to 2:45 p.m.