AACC International (AACCI) hits the refresh button on its annual meeting this year, reimagining as Cereals 17 to keep up with the constantly evolving future of the food industry. Program Team Chair Lauren Brewer, Ph.D., General Mills, Inc., Minneapolis, hopes this rejuvenation will create a meeting where the latest advancements in cereal science will inspire and educate the next generation of experts. Cereals 17 will be held Oct. 8-11 at the Town and Country Resort & Convention Center, San Diego.
“We’re really excited about many aspects of Cereals 17 and keeping continuity but making the meeting fresh,” Dr. Brewer said. “We’re really taking that leap and saying, ‘Let’s welcome ourselves to 2017 versus the 100 years ago when we started.’”
The centerpiece of this leap is how AACCI will present the hard science and research it’s known for providing its members. While the organization wanted to update the meeting, Dr. Brewer stressed, AACCI didn’t want to stray from its core values. Attendees can expect the same level of researched cereal science delivered in a more interactive way. Presentations will be shorter with speakers participating in panels or Q&A sessions with audience members. Members also will experience interactive workshops, including taste panels and equipment demonstrations.
This year’s symposia will cover the issues at the forefront of the industry: the latest tech and ingredient advancements, science-based responses to consumer trends and plenty of information on the nutritional makeup and benefits of cereal grains. Attendees can expect fruitful discussions on clean label, fiber, pulses, minimal processing and gluten-free.
“I hope members leave the conference with that one bit of information they’ve been looking for,” Dr. Brewer said. “In addition, I hope people find an acquaintance who can help them in their career and in their daily work.”
To help make those connections, Cereals 17 will offer plenty of networking opportunities designed to engage the next generation of cereal scientists, especially those new to the meeting. The division luncheons held on Oct. 9 have been combined for an all-inclusive luncheon. In addition to breakfasts, lunches and happy hours, attendees can look forward to the Sundown in San Diego event Oct. 10. This reception is a chance for attendees to relax and mingle by the pool before the final half-day of programming.
One part of updating Cereals 17 is integrating technology into the meeting. The 2017 AACCI Annual Meeting app will not only help attendees plan their trip, but it will help them interact with speakers after the fact. To further connect members, those who are comfortable using the app can wear ribbons to identify themselves as resources for questions regarding how to use it.
While these changes mark the AACCI’s move toward modernization, they also enhance what the organization has been about all along: hard science and bringing the cereals science community together.“We’re really good at coming together, making people feel welcome and making our science fun,” Dr. Brewer said.