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In-Person Attendee Experience

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IFT FIRST: A Reimagined Experience Exclusively for In-Person Attendees

It’s the moment that the science of food community has been waiting for...the full annual event and expo is back – live and in-person! Whether you are a past annual event attendee or a first-timer, IFT FIRST will be the best food science and food innovation event happening in 2022.

Take a look at all the amazing programming that is being planned just for you – and it’s only available if you meet us live at McCormick Place in Chicago July 10-13.



Food Expo

Monday, July 11 – Wednesday, July 13
10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. (4:00 p.m. on Wednesday, July 13)

TASTE. TOUCH. SMELL. DISCOVER. You can only do it IN PERSON at the IFT Food Expo.

In July 2022, we celebrate the return of the largest B2B food expo with more than 700 exhibiting companies.

The Food Expo is the place where you can discover the latest global trends, newest innovations, and cutting-edge solutions. It’s also a great place to build out supply chain options and contingency plans for the future.

See the companies you can meet at IFT FIRST Food Expo.

IFT FIRST is bringing together everyone connected to the future of food—from ingredient suppliers, product developers, food scientists, innovators, investors, startups, buyers, trendwatchers, and more. 

Whether you’re looking for innovation, ingredients, applications or technology, the IFT FIRST Food Expo has you covered. Pro Tip: Wear comfortable shoes and be prepared to be inspired.

Scientific Program Experience

Monday, July 11 – Wednesday, July 13

Forget everything you’ve ever known about the IFT annual event’s scientific program—this year’s experience is highly-immersive and will leave you energized, inspired and informed. From engaging, interactive formats to real peer-to-peer conversations of the world’s most cutting edge science, you cannot afford to miss the IFT FIRST Annual Event & Expo.

You’ll learn about the latest research and applications on key topics, including precision fermentation, cellular agriculture, water reduction in processing, plant-based food innovations, sensory science innovations, food tech for health and wellness, and trends in consumer and food tech. We will still have 120+ sessions (on-demand) plus an opportunity to engage, debate, converse with 100 speakers through 25 dynamic conversations that will bring subject matter experts together in interactive discussions, keynotes, and a can’t miss, brand-new Wednesday, Innovation Lab!

Business FIRST

Located in Destination IFT on the Food Expo Floor
Monday, July 11 – Wednesday, July 13

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 panels focused on Food Waste, Supply Chain, and DEI disparities in the science of food professions. Top experts from corporations, academia and non-profits will also explore major innovations, where VCs are investing and why. You’re not going to want to miss these sessions on the Business FIRST stage, conveniently located on the Food Expo floor in Destination IFT.

You’ll deep dive into the latest business trends, innovation and leadership topics. Learn about the results of the IFT Compensation and Career Survey, the latest on food startups, the innovators, the investors and so much more.

Start Up Pavilion

Located in Destination IFT on the Food Expo Floor
Monday, July 11 – Wednesday, July 13

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 at the Startup Pavilion on Wednesday, July 13th! Get the details here.

IFT Central

Located in Destination IFT on the Food Expo Floor
Monday, July 11 – Wednesday, July 13

The science of food community comes together at IFT FIRST and IFT Central is your place to learn about the resources, research, products, support services and memberships that make up IFT.

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.

Cooking Up Science

Host: Chef Charlie Baggs
Located in Destination IFT on the Food Expo Floor
Monday, July 11 and Tuesday, July 12

Watch ingredients and science meld into beautiful bites for you to sample at Cooking Up Science! Our cooking show on the Expo floor will educate and entertain you. Chef Charlie Baggs of Culinary Innovations serves as our host, taking you through the myriad of creative ways that ingredients can end up on our plates. You won’t want to miss these fun, high-energy, 30-minute shows.

The schedule for Cooking Up Science will be added soon!


The Braindate Lounge will be located in Destination IFT on the Food Expo Floor
Monday, July 11 – Wednesday, July 13

The opportunities for peer-to-peer learning and networking at IFT FIRST are plentiful, and Braindate gets to the heart of connection—allowing you to meet science of food pros you wouldn’t have met otherwise. New to IFT FIRST Annual Event and Expo, Braindate is where you can easily build meaningful connections. Find your next mentor, staffer, or collaborator!

Do you need expertise on a specific topic? Do you have expertise to offer? The Braindate platform allows IFT FIRST non-exhibiting participants the opportunity to meet up face-to-face in the Braindate Lounge in Destination IFT, or via teleconference with a virtual participant. You pick the mutual topic and connect! Braindate is a true hybrid experience.

In-person, Braindaters meet up in the Braindate Lounge at your designated time where you will be greeted by a learning concierge and escorted to your reserved table for a 30-minute chat. Or, if you prefer, join a small group of five professional to discuss a relevant topic for 45 minutes. You can discuss anything on Braindate from career pathways to specific scientific topics to operations and procedure suggestions.

Make as many Braindate appointments as you like. And, keep your connections going post-event. IFT FIRST is the place to connect, learn and innovate. Braindate helps you do it, with ease!

Fireside Chat

Located in Destination IFT on the Expo Floor
Monday, July 11 – Wednesday, July 13

Sometimes the best way to share knowledge is through an informal conversation or a story around a campfire. Fireside Chats at Destination IFT will bring the future into focus and discuss current trends and opportunities, all while sitting around a campfire. You’ll want to find the time to squeeze these 20-minute conversations into your jam-packed schedule. 

Check back often as more Fireside Chats at Destination IFT are added.  

Research Showcase & Posters

Located on the Expo Floor
Monday, July 11 – Wednesday, July 13

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. Poster Showcases held at various points throughout the event will allow you engage with poster presenters and ask questions.


Wednesday Innovation Lab

July 13, 2022

Innovation can happen anywhere, at any time, with anyone. Who will you connect with to innovate and change the world?This brand new, engaging and interactive experience will focus on real-world product development scenarios, challenging even the most experienced food professionals to think bigger and bolder.

Designed for the experienced and the curious, the IFT FIRST Innovation Lab will connect experienced professionals you’ll only find at IFT FIRST with curious food professionals to imagine the future of food and beverage.

You’ll be able to deep dive into the possibilities by visiting designated areas of the food value chain within our ballroom space, such as ingredient manufacturing, product design and formulation, distribution and marketing and more. Engage with your peers on potential concepts, constructs and ideas that could have the ability to change the world.

You simply can’t afford to miss this opportunity you’ll only find live and in-person at the IFT FIRST Annual Event & Expo.