IFT ups the ante for 2017

by Laurie Gorton
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Conveniently located just off The Strip, the Sands Expo Center connects to the Venetian Las Vegas, IFT's headquarters hotel.
 
The big draw for food professionals this year will be Las Vegas, not so much for its attractive casinos and resorts as for the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) annual meeting and Food Expo, taking place June 25-28 at the Sands Expo Center.

IFT expects 20,000 attendees to come from around the globe for the meeting’s 100 scientific sessions consisting of 700 technical research presentations, posters and ePosters and to visit with 1,200 Food Expo exhibitors. This is the world’s premier event for all things concerning food technology.

Taking “Go With Purpose” as its 2017 event theme, IFT organized a suite of programs called IFTNEXT. They include short courses, debates, roundtables and critical panel discussions designed to challenge and engage attendees. Organizers predict that these conversations and activities will provoke a better understanding of how global transdisciplinary collaboration can work to advance the science, technology and marketing of food. For example, Start Up Alley lets attendees talk one-on-one with leading food entrepreneurs.

IFT organizes its sessions around tracks involving health, nutrition, chemistry, engineering, microbiology, ingredients, processing, packaging, food safety, product development, public policy, sensory science and sustainability. It will also offer presentations about professional development, teaching and learning. A mobile app provides information for smartphone users.

After the 2017 meeting, the scientific sessions will be available in electronic format to conference attendees requesting “Total Access” when filling out their registration form. The recorded presentations will sync audio recordings with speakers’ PowerPoint slides and Acrobat files of their handouts.

IFT opens the annual meeting with an awards celebration on June 25 at 6 p.m. Its most prestigious honor, the Nicolas Appert Award, is being presented this year to E. Allen Foegerding, PhD, North Carolina State University, a long-tenured teacher and editor-in-chief of IFT scientific journals. Connie Weaver, PhD, Purdue University, has been named to receive the Trailblazer Award and Lectureship, given jointly with the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetics Association). Several other IFT members will be honored for their achievements, and the 2017 class of IFT fellows will be announced.

This year’s Food Technology Industrial Achieve-ment Award is being made to PepsiCo for its development of continuous-process enzymatic methods to treat whole grain flours. Its SoluOats patented technology delivers highly soluble whole grains, without off-flavors, which can be added readily to beverages and high-moisture foods.

On June 26, IFT again scheduled its Fun Run + Fitness event, with an after party. Several divisions and university alumni groups plan mixers and dinner events, and a late-night student networking party is set for June 27 at the Gold Coast Hotel and Casino, starting at 10 p.m.

The Food Expo runs three days: June 26, 27 and 28. The show opens at 10 a.m., closing the first two days at 5 p.m. and the third day at 4 p.m. Attendees can find Baking & Snack and Sosland Publishing Co. staff at booth No. 4223.

Several pre-event short courses are planned. Topics include food safety preventive controls, clean-label product innovation, flavor interactions, food science for the non-scientist, gums and starches, sensory science, US food labeling requirements and a course to prep for achieving Certified Food Scientist status.

While previous IFT annual meetings in this city were held at the Las Vegas Convention Center, this time the group will convene at the Sands Expo and Convention Center. This venue offers 1.2 million sq ft of exhibit and meeting space. It is adjacent to the Venetian Las Vegas, the group’s headquarters hotel, and conveniently located close to the main hotels on S. Las Vegas Blvd., a.k.a. The Strip.

Registration is now open. Signing up by May 12 can save IFT members close to 40% off event registration. IFT also recommends booking hotels early. Discounted rates expire May 19 for Harrah’s and The Linq, June 1 for the Venetian/Palazzo, and they are only available through IFT’s authorized housing provider, Experiment. Attendees must first register for the meeting or a pre-meeting short course. The online registration form provides a link to the official hotel service.

The group created a special website — www.iftevent.org — to provide information about registration, hotels, scientific programs and details about exhibitors. It also provides a guide to the city of Las Vegas and tips about attire and weather.
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