IFT to Debut 'FIRST' Look Into Future Food Tech Trends

Digital experience will bring global community together to solve problems and inspire food innovation
Marian Zboraj
Digital Editor
Marian Zboraj

The Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) is transitioning its annual event into a new digital experience called Food Improved by Research, Science, and Technology (FIRST), which will discuss innovative ways to solve food challenges and inspire future food innovation. Programming and presentations will take place virtually July 19-21, while the Solution Exchange will be offered July 19-23.

IFT is a global organization of approximately 12,000 individual members from 95 countries committed to advancing the science of food and ensuring a global food supply that is sustainable, safe, nutritious and accessible to all.

"As a science of food and innovation community, IFT is uniquely positioned to convene global experts, entrepreneurs and solution providers to collectively discuss and ignite new and innovative ways to solve our greatest food-related challenges," said Christie Tarantino-Dean, CEO for Chicago-based IFT. "While we can't be physically together, IFT is excited to launch FIRST and provide attendees with a personalized, solution-packed forum to solve problems, share knowledge and expand strategic connections."

FIRST will feature a robust matchmaking program called FIRST Solution Exchange, which will offer customized supplier recommendations, curate one-on-one meetings and feature interactive showrooms. Extending this experience will be Solution Suites, a comprehensive virtual marketplace where participants can peruse supplier showrooms to learn and engage with experts about the latest products and services.

Trained chef, television personality and author Carla Hall will serve as host for the three-day event. Keynote speakers are Ambassador Ertharin Cousin, founder and CEO of Food Systems for the Future, and Dr. Lisa Dyson, founder and CEO of Pleasanton, Calif.-based Air Protein. Claire Schlemme, founder and CEO of Oakland, Calif.-based Renewal Mill and winner of IFT's inaugural IFTNEXT Food Disruption Challenge pitch event, will host this year's IFTNEXT Food Disruption Challenge, which aims to nurture future food-focused entrepreneurs.

Other key aspects of the digital experience include the following:

  • Curated Scientific Program: The scientific programming will focus on answering the question "Zero Hunger: Will we get there?" Sessions will feature the latest insights, research and industry solutions aimed at addressing the global hunger crisis.
  • Supplier Showcase: Attendees will gain insights into emerging trends, access valuable business resources, and make strategic connections through interactive and on-demand presentations and showcases from suppliers, all designed to further career and business opportunities.
  • Startup Central: Innovative startup companies from around the globe will showcase their products and services as part of Startup Central. Startup programming and networking opportunities will also be offered for anyone interested in furthering their food science and business acumen and in expanding their professional ecosystem.

Registration is now open for FIRST.

Since 1939, IFT has brought together the brightest minds in food science, technology and related professions from academia, government and industry to solve the world's greatest food challenges. It works to ensure that members have the resources they need to learn, grow and advance the science of food as the population and the world evolve.

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