CHICAGO — In its second showing, ProFood Tech partnered with other organizations to bring attendees a more robust program than before. The show, put on by PMMI, March 26-28 in Chicago, gave food and beverage processors a place to focus on front-end manufacturing rather than packaging. Nearly 5,000 attendees were able to attend educational sessions, networking events and meet with more than 400 suppliers over the course of three days.

“We think here in the food and beverage processing arena we can really give a venue to focus on the front-end of manufacturing before it goes into the primary packaging,” said Tom Egan, vice-president, industry services, PMMI.

The association expanded on that promise since the trade show’s inaugural year in 2017 through partnerships with the Contract Packaging Association (C.P.A.), the International Dairy Foods Association (I.D.F.A.) and the Cold Press Council (C.P.C.). The C.P.A. not only hosted two sessions but also invested in a larger booth this year. The I.D.F.A. organized the conference’s educational programming through three focuses: the Impact Zone, the Disruption Zone and the Innovation Zone. The C.P.C. held its annual conference in coordination with ProFood Tech. Also co-located with the trade show this year was Sosland Publishing Company’s first Trends and Innovation Seminar.

Mr. Egan credited this year’s successful ProFood Tech largely to the on-floor networking opportunities, such as the educational programming. Sessions covered topics critical to the success of food and beverage manufacturing and solving the issues of tomorrow. Topics included I.T. challenges, traceability, contract manufacturing and packaging, and the latest product trends.

“Some of these sessions were packed with two or three deep after the seats were filled,” Mr. Egan said. “This on-floor networking, which is something PMMI has done very effectively at PackExpo, has really worked well.”

And it’s something Mr. Egan expects will continue if not expand in future ProFood Tech shows as well as expanding current partnerships or establishing new ones. While PMMI waits for official survey results to determine the success of this fledgling trade show, Mr. Egan said all anecdotal evidence suggests PMMI was able to fill the need for a targeted processing trade show for attendees.

“I heard from exhibitors and attendees that they came with a set of goals in mind and those goals were either met or exceeded,” he said. “I think it’s an indication of what we saw across the board.”

ProFood Tech returns to Chicago Feb. 23-25, 2021