The Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) announced new details around the in-person experience at IFT FIRST: Annual Event and Expo, taking place July 10-13 at McCormick Place in Chicago.

IFT FIRST attendees will have the opportunity to engage in a variety of reimagined experiences to discover the latest global trends, newest innovations, and cutting-edge solutions while making strategic connections.

New offerings include:

  • Opening Debate: Should We Eat More Processed Foods? – For the first time in IFT’s annual event history, the discussion around this year’s theme, Hacking the Food Supply: Can We Synthesize a More Sustainable Future will begin with a debate on the pros and cons of food processing. Moderated by ABC News Correspondent, John Donvan, debate panelists will include: Amy Webb, CEO of Future Today Institute and Professor of Strategic Insight at Stern School of Business, New York University; Kevin Hall, Senior Investigator at National Institutes of Health; Marion Nestle, Paulette Goddard Emeritus Professor of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health at New York University; Kevin Hall, Senior Investigator at National Institutes of Health; and Mike Gibney, Professor Emeritus of Food & Health at University College Dublin. 
  • Multi-Session Conversations – New this year, the annual event will feature more opportunities for participants to engage in meaningful dialogue around the event’s theme: Hacking the Food Supply: Can We Synthesize a More Sustainable Future? Following the debate and featured sessions, attendees can meet with presenters and peers to continue the discussion during dedicated live Multi-Session Conversations.
  • Cooking Up Science  IFT’s new cooking show on the Expo floor will educate and entertain attendees. Featuring Chef Charlie Baggs of Culinary Innovations as the host, the 30-minute shows will take attendees through the myriad of creative ways that ingredients can end up on our plates and offer an opportunity for sampling.
  • Braindate  Do you need expertise on a specific topic? Do you have expertise to offer? New to IFT FIRST: Annual Event and Expo, Braindate is where you can easily build meaningful connections. In-person, participants meet up in the Braindate Lounge at their designated time for a 30-minute chat. Or, if preferred, join a small group of five professional to discuss a relevant topic for 45 minutes. Participants can discuss anything on Braindate from career pathways to specific scientific topics to operations and procedure suggestions.
  • Innovation Lab – This brand-new interactive experience will focus on real-world product development scenarios, challenging even the most experienced food professionals to think bigger and bolder. The IFT FIRST Innovation Lab will connect experienced professionals at IFT FIRST with curious food professionals to imagine the future of food and beverage.
  • The Pitch at Startup Pavilion – The Startup Pavilion is where the newest food tech applications live. Learn what the future of food looks and tastes like. Various participants showcasing their companies in The Startup Pavilion will participate in The Pitch on Wednesday, July 13, 2022. The Pitch will be a crowdsourced vote to determine the winner.

For those who cannot make it to Chicago, IFT FIRST will include online offerings, including livestream keynotes, featured sessions, Business FIRST sessions and exclusive content designed just for the online audience.

Register for IFT FIRST: Annual Event and Expo.