The Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) announced its annual event will return both in-person and online with a new and improved lineup of content and programming. IFT FIRST: Annual Event & Expo, whose updated brand is an acronym for Food Improved by Research, Science and Technology, will take place July 10-13 at McCormick Place in Chicago. It will bring together the science of food community to solve food-centric challenges and spark innovation to benefit the global population for years to come. More than 18,000 people are expected to attend the in-person event, along with nearly 2,000 expo booths.

The theme of this year’s event – Hacking the Food Supply: Can We Synthesize a More Sustainable Future? – will explore potential promises and pitfalls in hacking the future of food. IFT FIRST’s programming will center around how the following areas of the global food system contribute to a more sustainable future: novel technology & innovation, sustainability, heath & nutrition, food safety, and consumer insights and education.

“After shifting the IFT annual event and expo online for the last two years, IFT will welcome the science of food community back to Chicago this July with a dynamic and highly engaging in-person experience unlike any prior event,” said IFT CEO Christie Tarantino-Dean. “This year, IFT FIRST attendees can expect a fully integrated experience with reimagined scientific programming, discussions focused on the business behind food and the future of food, as well as exciting networking and engagement activities. Additionally, the event will feature both live and virtual offerings to ensure that travel or other limitations do not prevent attendees from being able to connect, learn, and innovate.”

Attendees can expect more discussions and less lectures, more debate with shorter sessions, and new formats in Science FIRST, while the Business FIRST stage will feature experts from academia, finance, industry, and government to explore potential advantages and limitations of cutting-edge innovations in food.

The Science FIRST program will come to life through panels, keynotes, fireside chats and live moderated discussions, as well as on-demand scientific sessions and research presentations available through the IFT FIRST online platform.

The Business FIRST program, designed to provide helpful tips and strategies for startups, entrepreneurs, investors, and large companies, will feature live panel discussions addressing the challenges and opportunities that come with the science of food profession.  Topics range from food waste to innovations on the edge, supply chain impacts, and IFT’s reveal of its recent salary survey research and what it means for equity.

As part of IFT FIRST’s virtual experience, select Science FIRST and Business FIRST sessions will be livestreamed online for all attendees to engage in whether they are onsite or in the comfort of their own home. Additionally, those looking to connect and engage with other attendees will have several in-person and virtual networking opportunities including field trips, luncheons, courses, and a host of mixers and socials.

To further advance this year’s event and offer an even more tailored experience, IFT FIRST is built on a robust technology platform, which has the capability to leverage an attendee’s profile and engagement to recommend connections with those who have common interests.

As is tradition, IFT FIRST will host the world’s largest B2B food innovation expo featuring the industry’s most comprehensive collection of food ingredient, equipment, processing, technology, and packaging solution providers, allowing exhibitors and attendees to showcase and discover new, innovative products. This program will also include a Startup Pavilion where consulting groups and startups will come together to accelerate innovation, sourcing, and strategic deployment of products.

In efforts to ensure the safety of all attendees, IFT has partnered with Epistemix – a third-party modeling system that predicts the progression of potential disease outbreaks – to help determine the necessary protocols to implement at the event based on expected attendee risk levels. Discover more information on IFT FIRST’s health and safety measures.

Additional details about the event will be shared in the coming weeks across IFT’s channels and at All recorded content will be available on-demand following the event.

Register for IFT FIRST

About Institute of Food Technologists
The Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) is a global organization of approximately 12,000 individual members from 95 countries committed to advancing the science of food. Since 1939, IFT has brought together the brightest minds in food science, technology and related professions from academia, government, and industry to solve the world's greatest food challenges. Our organization works to ensure that our members have the resources they need to learn, grow, and advance the science of food as the population and the world evolve. We believe that science is essential to ensuring a global food supply that is sustainable, safe, nutritious, and accessible to all. For more information, please visit