The largest event in the world on food ingredients opens this evening with a keynote speech from Joel A. Barker, who, according to the IFT organisers, is also known as 'the paradigm man' because he has pioneered the application of paradigm shift theory and invented tools to help forecast long term implications of change.
This year's hot topics for the event are linked to the theme, 'Keeping the Food Industry Competitive.'
'Expanding margins, not waistlines' on Tuesday will look at the dramatic increase in the incidence of overweight and obesity. The food industry is targeted as contributing to this epidemic but the conference will focus on ways the food manufacturers can attack the problem 'by pursuing it from a business perspective'.
"As consumers become increasingly focused on weight management, they will develop an appetite for innovative, effective, and palatable solutions. This growing demand will enable (and perhaps obligate) food companies to dedicate resources to finding solutions that will benefit consumers, the public health community and the bottom line," writes the IFT.
The 'Changing the Odds' session will focus on how the food industry is evolving and the macro factors that alter its competitive landscape, while at the 'When mad cow comes home' debate, and in light of the recent outbreak of mad cow disease in the US, speakers will present the science and background of, as well as their viewpoints on, the domestic and international issues related to the disease.
Food formulation is the focus of the new product development pavilion, with the IFT and chefs from the Research Chefs Association (RCA) working side by side with food technologists to create new culinary 'dishes on demand' using specific ingredients. According to the organisers, each product will be documented with a recipe and interactive discussion of development steps.
A raft of new product introductions is anticipated.