More than 14,500 food professionals convened in Anaheim for the 2009 Institute of Food Technologists Annual Meeting & Food Expo. The Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) is a non-profit scientific society comprised of individual members in academia, government, and industry.
The 2009 event was a success, bucking the current convention trend of declining attendee registrations. Attendee registration at the 2009 event increased by 10 percent as compared to both the 2008 event, which took place in New Orleans, and the previous IFT event held in Anaheim in 2002. This is particularly noteworthy given that the convention industry as a whole is experiencing an average attendee registration decline of almost two percent this year, according to the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR).
A variety of new programs designed to expand both the educational and information-sharing value of the event were introduced this year in Anaheim.
An online professional networking system called networkNow! enabled attendees to identify other event participants with similar interests.
Four standing-room-only Sunrise Sessions, offered at 7:00 a.m. on Sunday and Tuesday and covering such topics as “DNA Techniques for Food Pathogens” and “Nanoscale Science for Food: A Primer,” provided those interested in maximizing their education experience with additional opportunities.
The Keynote Session, featuring economic experts Todd Buchholz, a Harvard University economist and author of the book Market Shock: 9 Economic and Social Upheavals that Will Shake our Financial Future and Dr. Jeffrey Rosensweig, a CNN financial commentator and author of the book Winning the Global Game: A Strategy for Linking People and Profits, discussing the current state of the economy and its impact on the food industry, went interactive this year. Buchholz and Rosensweig built their presentation around questions which were submitted online in advance of the event, as well as during the actual session in Anaheim.
IFT’s show daily made a digital transition this year to an all electronic format called IFT Live www.ift.org/IFTLIVE . This combined traditional comprehensive event coverage with more convenient access and rich multimedia content.
A new Intellectual Property Exchange (IPEx) session was offered onsite in Anaheim, helping those with IP connect with those seeking innovative new technologies.
Trend Tours were introduced, highlighting exhibiting companies providing products and services aligned around key industry topics of flavor and color innovation, ingredients for functional foods, naturally sourced, and weight management.
Those who were unable to attend the 2009 event in Anaheim now have several unique opportunities to benefit from the education resources and insights shared there. Information on these resources can be found on www.ift.org/IFT09.
IFT’s next Annual Meeting & Food Expo will take place in Chicago, July 17-21, 2010, at McCormick Place South.
Founded in 1939, the Institute of Food Technologists is a nonprofit scientific society with more than 20,000 individual members working in food science, food technology, and related professions in industry, academia, and government. IFT serves as a conduit for multidisciplinary science thought leadership, championing the use of sound science through knowledge sharing, education, and advocacy. For more information on IFT, visit www.ift.org.