By: Evann Dufort
This post originally appeared on Evann’s blog, chicaggie.blogspot.com and summarizes her experience as a first timer at IFT14
The best part of being a member of IFT is the opportunity to attend the Annual Meeting & Food Expo (AM&FE). Most people just say, “Are you going to IFT?”. IFT is a huge convention for everything related to food science and takes place in different major cities each year, such as Las Vegas, Chicago, Boston, and New Orleans.
More than 16,000 people attended this 4 day event — experts in R&D, product development, QA/QC, executive management, marketing, procurement, sales, and more — from industry, academia, and government. Part of IFT is seminars, research poster sessions, meetings, and various student activities. However, the most prominent part of the conference is the Food Expo, where industry suppliers showcase their latest and greatest innovations in the food industry. Whether it’s a protein that can be added to clear beverages, new and bright natural colorings, or diverse savory meat flavors derived from vegetables, you are bound to be overwhelmed, inspired, and exhilarated by what the Expo floor has to offer. You’ll walk in to the ENORMOUS expo, empty handed and wide-eyed, and leave educated, excited, and weighed down by a million food samples, business cards, and totebags with company names. It’s amazing.
For students, IFT is a little different compared to industry professionals. It’s like being a kid in a candy shop. You can meet professionals who currently work with a particular sugar you read about for FST100A, or a company that verifies free fatty acid content for olive oil Standard of Identity, like that one experiment in FST103L. You can see your textbook food science concepts scaled up to production, with new applications and outcomes. You’ll find new flavors, new colors, and even completely new products that you could never imagine. And you can taste it all and have some to take home!! There are also a plethora of activities for students and new professionals that provide resources and opportunities to further improve their experiences in this field including: job interviews, career workshops, networking opportunities, student mixers, university receptions, and fun activities in the Student Lounge. As a new member of the Board for the IFT Student Association, I can already tell that students and new professionals are going to be supported more than ever in the coming years.
On Sunday, June 22, I was honored with an award for the 2014 Evan Turek Scholarship and Internship at Kraft at the Joint Divison Mixer for Nonthermal Processing, Food Engineering, and Packaging. I had the opportunity to meet many members of these divisions, as well as the other recipient of the Evan Turek Scholarship, who is interning for Mondelez for the summer. Pictured at the left is David Legan, a Principle Scientist in Ingredient Research, who conducts Preservation research to provide ingredient and process technologies that enable Fresher, Less-Processed offerings across multiple business units.
As you can see from this post, there is a LOT that happens during this 4 day event –from seminars, workshops, mixers, sampling, presentations, fundraising, and interviews. All of these events are produced to benefit the IFT Members, students, and new professionals to make the connections, learn something new, and make an impact in the food industry for the betterment of the future. I highly recommend students to start saving money for IFT15 Chicago!! I’ll see you there!
Thank you to the IFT Board of Trustees, the IFT Board of Directors, the IFTSA Board of Directors, and all of those involved in making IFT14 so successful and such an amazing opportunity for me and students like me. It truly makes a difference and really solidifies the fact that Food Science is the best major and future career!!