Food technologists and manufacturers will be swarming to Florida tomorrow to learn about the latest ingredients innovations as the 2006 IFT annual meeting and food expo opens its doors in Orlando's Orange County Convention Center.
The world's largest event on food ingredients, which will take place between June 24-28, will this year feature four major themes: food defense and bioterrorism; functional foods; globalization; and food allergens.
The trade show will be opened on Sunday morning with a keynote address by the Food Network's 'Good Eats' guru, Alton Brown, known for his combination of science, history and culture in his approach to food.
This year's show will include a trend forecasting session on Tuesday June 27 presented by a number of industry experts including Harry Balzer of the NPD Group, Amanda Archibald from Mintel and Maryellen Molyneaux of the Natural Marketing Institute.
The IFT hopes its Trending Toward Tomorrow session will reveal "what consumers' current selection traits and spending habits are telling manufacturers about the next big trends on grocery shelves for the remainder of the decade."
Another session on Sunday June 25 will examine the affect of globalization on food safety issues.
"Changes in the infectious traits of germs, their resistance to antibiotic treatments, and even changes within human bodies all can have dire effect on our susceptibility of foodborne illness as a result of the globalization of the food supply. Experts in food safety will target the factors that threaten to contribute to the emergence of illnesses spread via food," writes the IFT.
Nanotechnology will also be a key focus this year, with afternoon sessions on the topic on June 25-26 as well as a presentation of the current state of food nanotechnology science scheduled for Monday morning June 26.
"The US food supply faces new challenges of defending against food terrorism while at the same time effectively harnessing technology at the atomic level that promises phenomenal advancements in delivering healthful nutrients to our bodies," writes the IFT.
"New developments in smart delivery systems that provide specific nutrients benefiting targeted body functions at precise times during digestion are merely one exciting area that nanotechnology experts will address during the meeting."
The food conference will also examine the use of antibiotics in animals intended for human consumption, with an expert report- Antimicrobial Resistance-Implications for the Food System- due to be released on Monday.
Beyond the special sessions organized for this year's show, there will be around 1,000 companies exhibiting at the IFT, with thousands of food scientists, suppliers and marketers from around the world due to attend the convention to learn the latest ingredients innovations.
The FoodNavigator team will be reporting on the convention from Orlando.