Plant-based nutrition, ‘big data’ and leadership development will be explored at this year’s AACC International annual meeting, Oct. 23-26 at Savannah, GA.

Plants are “in.” Frontrunner foodies pursue this emerging trend by seeking their nutrients primarily from plants. They want not only the clean-and-pure image but also the sustainability factor. Such preferences mean new opportunities for researchers and product developers who can steer grain-based foods in this direction. To achieve such objectives, the science of pulses, psyllium, rice and sprouted grains takes center stage at the 2016 annual meeting of AACC International (AACCI) taking place at Savannah, GA, Oct. 23-26.

More than half of the planned scientific symposia deal with the nutrients, analysis, physiological effects, processing, novel applications, sensory qualities, performance, functional qualities, bioavailability, health and quality measurement of cereal grains and the foods made from them. The program team, chaired by Satya Jonnalagadda, PhD, RD, director of global nutrition for Kerry Ingredients & Flavours USA, also scheduled presentations about sustainability, food safety, regulatory matters and proactive science-based communications.

Big data is the special interest of the Oct. 23 opening keynote speaker, Johannes Keizer, PhD, information systems officer at the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. He is the strategic partnership lead for FAO’s Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition and will describe how big data can be used to improve food and nutrition around the world. “There’s a lot of buzz about ‘big data’ right now, and it is new to the cereal sciences,” Dr. Jonnalagadda said.

The Oct. 26 plenary speaker, yet to be announced, leads off a new one-day track about the future of food. “The keynoter will describe sustainability challenges for food production and the potential contributions by modern plant breeding technologies, along with other issues in food and biotech,” said Susan Kohn, AACCI’s director of content management and education.

The annual meeting draws a world-wide audience of more than 1,100 from industry, academia and government each year. For 2016, it takes place at the Savannah International Trade and Convention Center overlooking the city’s scenic riverfront and historic landmark district. The society previously met at Savannah in 2010.

AACCI supplements the meeting’s scientific sessions and symposia with a lively exhibit area, open for the first three days of the event. Extensive poster displays provide more than 200 highly focused reports of current scientific research.

The nitty-gritty of scientific work will be addressed during early morning technical committee meetings. A student paper competition is also featured. A variety of association division and section gatherings take place during breakfast, lunch and evening hours. The group also puts together local tours that allow additional networking.

For 2016, the society opened its program to late-breaking science. “Normally, we ask for abstracts to be submitted by April 15,” Ms. Kohn explained. “But we know that a lot of science can happen between then and the annual meeting.” The group extended its abstract acceptance date to July 20.

Building on the past year’s centennial celebration, AACCI is looking to its future and that of its members, Dr. Jonnalagadda said. “A key goal is to develop AACCI’s leaders of the future,” she explained. “So, we put two professional development workshops on the program.”

One, led by Lauren Brewer, a General Mills scientist and 2016 annual meeting program vice-chair, focuses on leadership development. The second is organized by Les Copeland, PhD, professor at University of Sidney, Australia, and editor-in-chief of Cereal Chemistry, the association’s professional journal. It will detail the process of writing for peer-reviewed publications.

Registration has already started. Early bird rates end Aug. 1; after that, regular rates apply. For more information, visit