Joseph Scimeca

For Dairy Foods’ podcast with Joseph Scimeca, Ph.D., about The IDFA Ice Cream Technology and Yogurt and Cultured Conference, click below.

The IDFA Ice Cream Technology and Yogurt and Cultured Conference is set to take place April 18 and 19 at the Austin Marriott Downtown in Austin, Texas. The ice cream and cultured events take place concurrently during this time.

“In the morning, there is a joint session related to both topics of yogurt and cultured,” Joseph Scimeca, Ph.D., who leads IDFA’s Regulatory and Scientific Affairs team, tells Dairy Foods. “That is followed by the ice cream track and yogurt and cultured track. But there is no prohibition to make attendees attend one track or another. We think this is a great way for attendees to get [information] on another category.”

The Ice Cream Technology Conference primarily serves ice cream and frozen dessert professionals, including executives, managers, marketers, plant operations personnel, research and development, food safety, and quality, and regulatory staff, among other roles. 

“It is the only meeting that focuses specifically on innovations and frozen dessert research, as well as emerging technologies and new market trends,” Scimeca says. “It provides a unique opportunity to learn from the experts on food safety, labeling and other regulations like the standards of identity that affect the industry.”

Hence, sessions on consumer trends, FDA food standards and labeling policies, food safety and creating texture, eCommerce, and packaging of ice cream are among the scheduled events. 

On the Yogurt and Cultured track, which serves executives, marketers, plant operations, research and development, and quality assurance staff, guests can attend sessions on such topics as membrane filtration, ultrafiltration, bioactives in yogurt products, sweeteners, packaging, and parfaits, the latter of which Scimeca called an “exploding” category.

Awards and activities

The Austin event also will include the fan-favorite Innovation Flavor contest, which gives attendees the chance to taste ice cream. Among the awards to be presented, in concert with Dairy Foods, are Most Innovative Flavor, Most Innovative Ice Cream Novelty, and Most Innovative Prototype Ice Cream Flavor. 

“All the attendees are invited to join in the tasting and vote on [which product] they find preferable. Winners will receive a trophy and take part in a really nice ceremony,” Scimeca notes. “…It is a really exciting event. We get upwards of 30 different ice creams submitted. So, it is like going into an ice cream store and tasting every ice cream they have there.”

Beyond the event itself, attendees can enjoy many activities in Texas’ capital, including its bustling live music scene. Scimeca specifically highlighted perhaps Austin’s most unique activity: bat watching at dusk underneath the Ann W. Richards Congress Avenue Bridge. 

“Every evening, an enormous congregation of bats come out and people watch tens of thousands of bats emerge and go off into the sunset,” Scimeca concludes, adding that Austin’s restaurants and other cultural activities are impressive as well.