Hosted by the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), IFT18 will be held at McCormick Place in Chicago. The food expo will bring together food science and technology thought leaders from more than 90 countries representing the most prominent organizations in the global food sector.

This year’s theme, A Matter of Science + Food, sets the tone for a scientific program that will highlight the latest research, innovative solutions and groundbreaking thinking by academics and industry professionals in the science of food, IFT said.

Programming will include more than 100 scientific sessions and 11 intensive short courses, including “Launching a Food and Beverage Business,” led by food incubator The Hatchery, and “Improvise This: The Power of Collaboration,” led by Chicago’s Second City Works.

In addition to the extensive scientific programming, IFT18 will feature its largest exhibit hall to date, including 1,200 global exhibitors showcasing the latest products and innovations in food science and technology.


Featured sessions of interest:

  • The culmination of the inaugural IFTNEXT Food Disruption Challenge, a competition designed to help emerging and investment-ready science of food and technology companies gain visibility and make strategic connections. The event will feature six startups competing for the Future Food Disruptors of the Year $25,000 cash prize in front of a panel of judges representing different sectors of the food and beverage industry. The session also will include a presentation from Moderator Daymond John, a cast member on ABC’s Shark Tank.
  • Tamar Haspel, columnist for The Washington Post, will moderate a panel discussion titled “The Clash Behind Consumer Demands and Responsible Foods.”
  • Dennis Dimick, executive editor of National Geographic magazine, will present “The Human Age: Confronting the Innovation Conundrum,” a compilation of his environmental photographs exploring the impact of human ingenuity and the Earth’s ability to sustain it.


Specialty Pavilions to check out:

  • The IFTNEXT Start-Up Alley is where attendees can meet one-on-one with a selected group of leading entrepreneurs developing some of the most innovative products and solutions.
  • The Organics and Naturals Pavilion will showcase the latest products and trends in organics and naturals by suppliers from around the globe.
  • The New Exhibitor Pavilion is designed to make it easy for attendees to locate the newest products and technologies.
  • The China Pavilion will be a comprehensive collection of new products, ingredients and vendors from China.
  • The Food Safety and Quality Assurance Pavilion will provide a look at what’s next in food safety and quality assurance technologies, processes, services and packaging. 
  • The On Trend Pavilion will be the place for attendees to get the latest insights on new product trends.

To learn more about specific events, or to access more exhibitor and attendee information, travel arrangements and registration links, visit