IFTNEXT Session Highlights

Where Innovation Gets Inspired.

IFTNEXT is about thinking big and being bold. It is about challenging, re-examining and inspiring original thought. It’s about engaging passionate, creative, forward thinking individuals in conversations and activities that provoke a better understanding of how global, transdisciplinary collaboration can advance and instill innovation in the science of the food to advance real-world global challenges.

Fuel your passion for the science of food through our thought-provoking IFTNEXT presentations, panel discussions and exhibitions. Below is just a sample of what you will experience though our featured IFT17 IFTNEXT programming.

IFTNEXT Sessions Descriptions, Dates and Presenter Bios



A Conversation with Andrew Pelling
Monday, June 26, 2-3 p.m.

Dr. Pelling, scientist, professor, entrepreneur and renowned TED Senior Fellow will provide a talk to unapologetically challenge your curiosity and inspire your creativity.

About Andrew Pelling
Scientist, professor, entrepreneur and TED Senior Fellow Andrew Pelling has built a career on unapologetic curiosity, creativity and serendipity. He is a professor and Canada Research Chair at the University of Ottawa, where he founded and directs a curiosity-driven research lab that brings together artists, scientists, social scientists and engineers. Pelling is also the co-founder and CTO of Spiderwort Inc., a mission driven company developing open source platforms to enable the widespread and global adoption of biological research in all environments and economic contexts. Most recently, he founded pHacktory, a street-level research lab in Ottawa that amplifies community ideas through a potent mixture of craft, serendipity and curiosity.

Design Thinking

Design Thinking for Food: A Groundbreaking Pilot Course to Develop the Next Generation of Food Innovators
Monday, June 26, 10:30 a.m.

Join Dr. Lauren Shimek, Founder and CEO of Food.Tech.Design, for a flash demo of the design thinking tools for food innovation. In this session we’ll go from problem statement to prototype in less than an hour and hear impact stories from food science students using these tools. Session will include a show and tell and on the spot rapid prototyping.

About Dr. Lauren Shimek
Dr. Shimek is an experienced innovation leader who uses human-centered design, cross-disciplinary collaboration and technical expertise to create strategic, breakthrough food and beverage products and to drive innovation culture within organizations.

Food Material Discussion

Ideal Food Material Specification
Monday, June 26, 4-5 p.m.

Panel Participants include:

Mahati Elluru, Maxine Jasmine Roman, Kimberly Sheridan, Scott Riefler, BS Chemistry; Chris Findlay, PhD


Food Evolution Small

Tuesday, June 27, 8:30 a.m.

From Academy Award®-nominated director Scott Hamilton Kennedy (THE GARDEN, FAME HIGH, OT: OUR TOWN) and narrated by esteemed science communicator Neil deGrasse Tyson, FOOD EVOLUTION is set amidst a polarized debate marked by fear, distrust and confusion: the controversy surrounding GMOs and food.

Traveling from Hawaiian papaya groves, to banana farms in Uganda to the cornfields of Iowa, FOOD EVOLUTION wrestles with the emotions and the evidence driving one of the most heated arguments of our time.

Enlisting experts and icons of the struggle such as Mark Lynas, Alison Van Eenennaam, Jeffrey Smith, Andrew Kimbrell, Vandana Shiva, Robert Fraley, Marion Nestle and Bill Nye, as well as farmers and scientists from around the world, this bold and necessary documentary separates the hype from the science to unravel the debate around food. While the passionate advocates on all sides of this debate agree on the need for safe, nutritious and sustainable food for the planet, their differing views over what constitutes the truth have pit them against each other, rendering the subject of food itself into an ideological battleground.

A lively panel discussion with director Scott Hamilton and special guests featured in the film will follow the film screening.

About Director Scott Hamilton Kennedy
For more information about Scott Hamilton Kennedy, visit: www.blackvalleyfilms.com

Consumer Trends

Consumer Trends in 2017
Tuesday, June 27, 10:30-11:00 .a.m.

What people want and what they do are often at odds. Silvia Dumitrescu from the International Food Information Council (IFIC) will give us a sneak peak of the IFIC’s Foundation’s 2017 Food & Health Survey (in its 12th year!) to gain a better understanding of what consumers think about food and nutrition.

About Silvia Dumitrescu
Silvia Dumitrescu serves as Senior Vice President, Communications & Marketing, for the International Food Information Council working with internal experts to raise awareness and understanding of food science. Formerly, Silvia was Global Strategist for the Center for Creative Economy, structuring and negotiating key partnerships with international organizations, corporate clients, and government agencies to promote the importance of science, technology, and innovation as economic development engines.

Without Borders

Food Technologists Without Borders—A Compelling Concept
Tuesday, June 27, 11:15-12:15 p.m.

IFT and Feeding Tomorrow Foundation are collaborating with several not-for-profit organizations to set up volunteer programs that leverage the technical knowledge of the IFT community to provide scalable, sustainable, safe and nutritious food technology solutions for people and regions in need.

Moderated by Bernhard Van Lengerich, join this panel discussion where panelists Alexandra Spieldoch, CEO of Compatible Technology International; Jeff Dykstra, CEO Partners in Food Solutions; and Dr. Erika Smith, Director of the Center for Technology Creation at General Mills will discuss this compelling concept.

GMO so what

GMOs….So What? Part I
Tuesday, June 27, 1:15-1:45 p.m.

An interactive two part presentation where audience members will be encouraged to actively participate and discuss how the GMO controversy has impacted them, their business, what it means for the future and how to better position the conversation to include sound science.

Sound Off

Sound Off! Four Industries’ Success Stories for Environmental Monitoring, Food Safety Validation and Sanitation
Tuesday, June 27, 2:30-3:30 p.m.

We’ve all seen media coverage of recent food pathogen disasters and understand the need to get in front of them. With the new Preventive Controls for Human Food it has become increasingly critical to the food industry to adequately monitor, verify and validate preventive controls including sanitation controls. Creating and maintaining an effective environmental monitoring program (EMP) can serve as an 'early warning system’ to fend off potential contamination. Learn about success stories from the dry, meat, and frozen foods sectors, and the complexities and challenges of validating sanitation controls, implementing EMPs, and creating a food safety culture.

Brian Dunning, Sanjay Gummalla, Brian Strouts, Scott Goltry, Bob Garrison

3D Print Technology

Advances in 3-D Printing
Tuesday, June 27, 3:45-4:45 p.m.

3D printing is newly brought to the Food Technology field but has burgeoning potential for future research and development and product design. This presentation and live demonstration will include the analysis of flowability and printability of different product streams and characterization of resultant printed products; customization of 3D printing to consumer needs and preferences; and regulatory aspects of 3D printing.

Moderators and Presenters
Moderators: Mary Scerra; Moderator - Michael Okamoto, M.S. M Eng;
Presenters: Michael Okamoto, M.S. M Eng; Darryl L. Holliday, PhD CRC; Danilo Spiga, Ing.


GMO so what

GMOs….So What? Part II
Wednesday, June 28, 12:15-12:45 p.m.

An interactive presentation where audience members will be encouraged to actively participate and discuss how the GMO controversy has impacted them, their business, what it means for the future and how to better position the conversation to include sound science.


There is so much to explore, learn, and do at IFT17. Check out our helpful online planner to assist you with identifying your ideal sessions, events and activities for a customized IFT17 experience.

IFT’s Career Center Live is where you can get noticed and network with some of the top companies in food science and technology from around the globe.

The edge you need to succeed. IFT Pre-event Short Courses provide in-depth, intensive learning opportunities packed with valuable information to help you advance your knowledge and your career.

Hone your expertise and recharge your creativity with our inspirational featured sessions.