The annual conference of the Institute of Food Technologists is coming up in Chicago this July 16-19—and we will be there! The theme of this year’s IFT First is “Innovation in a Time of Crisis: Can We Future-Proof the Food System?” The expo will feature 850+ exhibitors showcasing the latest food science innovations, ingredient samples, interactive demos and product tastings. We are looking forward to the chance to connect once again with both established and emerging players in the global science of food community. Both our CEO Dave Lundahl and our CRO Greg Stucky will be there, presenting and participating in both pre-recorded and live sessions.
Chat: Improving Food Trust
On Monday, July 17, our CEO Dave will be joined by Mickie French (Center for Food Integrity) and Noel Anderson (Mosaic Foods) for a fireside chat, “The Sustainability Playbook Part One: Improving Food Trust by Saying What You Can Do.” The group will talk about promoting sustainability, greenwashing and greenhushing concerns and the importance of clear messaging and scientifically validated claims in the food industry. The chat will also address consumer distrust, the role of scientific information in cutting through media noise, and the significance of having a clear vision and strategy before making commitments.
Recorded Session: Plant-Based Sustainability
Our Chief Research Officer, Greg, will be pre-recording a session for Scientific & Technical Forum at the show on “Do Consumers Know Plant-Based is Sustainable?” His session and sharing will cover how consumers are yearning for more sustainable products, even in the plant-based and meat alternative space. But most plant-based products do have a strong sustainability component to them, so why do shoppers perceive a gap between plant-based shopping reality and meeting their sustainable shopping goals? This points to a lack of understanding among consumers about plant-based alternatives. In turn, this gives brands the opportunity to improve their marketing and messaging, their packaging and their product innovations to close the gap between consumer perception and reality, and to create a more sustainable future.
Panel: Operationalizing Sustainability
Also from Greg, on Tuesday, July 18, at the show, he will take the above session a step further by participating in a panel discussion, “How Do We Operationalize Sustainability?” with Alexandra Kazaks (Bastyr University), Jonathan Kershaw (Bowling Green State University), Ziynet Boz (University of Florida), Phyllis Posy (Posy Global), and Yao Olive Li (California State Polytechnic University).This conversation will delve into the practical implementation of sustainability in the entire food system, encompassing food production, distribution and consumption. Additionally, panelists will explore examples such as insect- and plant-based food as well as consumer behaviors that contribute to a sustainable food system.
Chat: Building Consumer Trust
And on Tuesday Dave will dive into Part Two of the Sustainability Playbook, “The Sustainability Playbook Part 2: Building Trust by Delivering on the Promise,” this time in a fireside chat with Jim Jarman (Neutral Foods) and Lisbeth Goddik (Oregon State University). Building on the Part One discussion from Monday, these three industry leaders will discuss the challenges of delivering truly sustainable products. They will talk about how consumers prioritize price, convenience and taste over sustainability, creating obstacles for food product developers due to cost limitations and consumer expectations. Also, the session will explore strategies for overcoming these challenges and introducing sustainable alternatives successfully.