Thousands of food science and technology professionals will converge in New Orleans, LA, June 11-14, for the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) 2011 Annual Meeting and Food Expo. The event promises to teach attendees about the most recent product, ingredient and technology developments and their potential impact on food businesses, as well as help them identify key trends that will shape the industry.

The program starts on Saturday, June 11, with a volunteer activity, pre-meeting short courses and a career fair, followed by the Phi Tau Sigma Awards Ceremony and networking reception.

Those who haven’t overindulged in New Orleans hospitality can enjoy the keynote at 8:30 a.m. on Sunday, June 12.New Yorkerwriter Michael Specter will present the keynote address — “Delivering Science: Changing the Image of Food Science in the Marketplace” — in which he will argue that consumer purchasing decisions are affected by hearsay, rumors and vague promises. He will also address the growing fear that denialism, as he terms it, will “stifle scientific inquiry and progress, prevent us from solving solvable problems such as famine in Third World countries and create new windows of opportunity for devastating diseases to appear in the world.”

The Scientific Program, presented throughout the event, brings together more than 100 education sessions and 1,200 poster presentations led by experts in their fields of food science and technology. Program tracks include Food Safety and Defense; Food, Health and Nutrition; Food Processing and Packaging; Sustainability; Food Microbiology; and Public Policy, Food Laws and Regulations.

Offered from noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday, June 12; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday, June 13; and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Tuesday, June 14, the Food Expo brings together more than 935 ingredients, equipment, processing and packaging suppliers. Visitors can find similar products and services under one roof in the specialty and trend pavilions including Food Safety and Quality, Healthy Food Ingredients, Organic Food Ingredients, Sustainability, New Products and Consumer Insights presented by Mintel, and Taste the Trend presented by Innova.

The Special Events Pavilion will allow visitors to gain in-depth knowledge of specific topics. “Delicious Snack Food Opportunities: Leveraging the Dietary Guidelines,” presented by the United Soybean Board from 2 to 2:45 p.m. on Sunday, June 12, will address how to improve the healthfulness of food products to fulfill the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans’ challenge for consumers to eat nutrient-dense foods lower in solid fats, added sugar and sodium. Mintel will present “The Future for Natural Flavors and Colors” from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday, June 14, looking at how companies are responding to consumer demand for natural colors and flavors with new and reformulated products.

Attendees can also purchase tickets for technical field trips to local companies, including Zapp’s Potato Chips on Tuesday from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. for $25.

As a special bonus, IFT offers two free webcasts to registrants to the 2011 Annual Meeting Scientific Program. They can choose two offerings from “Current Food Industry Hiring Trends for Students and Professionals”, “Testing Standards for the Efficacy of Functional Food Ingredients”, or “Conjugated Linoleic Acid from Discovery to GRAS, a 20-Year Journey” for their free webcasts.

For more information and to register, call (312) 782-8424.