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What is IFT FIRST?

IFT FIRST means Food Improved by Research, Science, and Technology. It is IFT’s response to the transformative nature of the global food system. IFT FIRST is a place where professionals can discover the latest global trends, newest innovation, and cutting-edge solutions while making strategic connections to advance their business and careers.

IFT FIRST: Annual Event and Expo will return to McCormick Place in Chicago July 14-17, 2024. Join our email list to be the FIRST-To-Know about all updates and activities related to the event.


Why attend IFT FIRST?

This event is designed to connect science and business while providing a place to find solutions to specific issues and complex challenges within the global science of food community. From product developers, innovators, food scientists, ingredient purveyors to educators and students, there’s something for anyone who is invested in partnering with the community to bring the world the future of food. Connect, learn and innovate at IFT FIRST.

Science FIRST

What’s the answer to future-proofing the food system? It’s a question science of food professionals from around the world are trying to answer collectively, and it’s the theme of this year’s IFT FIRST event: Innovation in a Time of Crisis: Can We Future-Proof the Food System. From keynote sessions to interactive discussions, there are plenty of opportunities to explore and discuss this very important topic.

Science First Overview

Food Expo


750+ companies exhibiting. Whether you’re looking for innovation, ingredients, applications, cutting-edge solutions or technology, the IFT FIRST Food Expo has you covered. See the companies you can meet at IFT FIRST Food Expo.

Expo Experience

Business FIRST

The Business FIRST Stage will tackle global issues and showcase trends in food, food tech, and the science of food. Don’t miss out on listening to dynamic panels focused on the business of food.

Business First Sessions

Startup Pavilion

Startup Pavilion is where burgeoning ideas and the newest food tech applications live. Learn what the future of food looks and tastes like. Meet the founders making it happen. And, don’t miss The Pitch exclusively in the IFT FIRST Expo.

Startup Pavilion

IFT Central

Whether you are looking to learn more about IFT, or have a specific challenge or need, the team at IFT Central can assist you and connect you with the right tools and people. If you would like to learn about how membership and involvement in IFT can help advance your career, or how IFT is advocating for you as a science of food professional, you’ll have the chance to network with involved and active members and IFT staff who have answers!

Stop by with questions about IFT FIRST, pick up a free copy of Food Technology magazine, or just to say to the friendly IFT team.

Taste of Science

Discover the innovative ways that ingredients and science meld together to create beautiful bites during these 15-minute presentations and a self-guided sample tour.

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Braindate is where you can easily build meaningful connections. Find your next mentor, staffer, or collaborator! IFT FIRST is the place to connect, learn and innovate. Braindate helps you do it, with ease. The opportunities for peer-to-peer learning and networking at IFT FIRST are plentiful, and Braindate gets to the heart of connection.


Fireside Chat

Fireside Chats at Destination IFT will bring the future into focus and discuss current trends and opportunities. You’ll want to find the time to squeeze these 20-minute conversations into your jam-packed schedule. 

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Research Showcase & Posters

The very best and brightest in the science of food and innovation display their research posters. What’s showcased here can significantly impact the future of food. You won’t want to miss your opportunity to be a part of these groundbreaking conversations and research posters.

New this year! All posters will be displayed throughout the entire show on the Expo floor, allowing you even more time to discover key insights and innovations and engage with poster presenters to ask questions.

Research Showcase