In the weeks leading up to my first Institute of Food Technology show in Chicago, people tried to prepare me for what I was about to experience. I received the standard advice to wear comfy shoes, tips on how to save time walking the expo, and how the show would be too much for a rookie and recent Food Science graduate from The Ohio State University.
While the expo was not necessarily overwhelming, it did not fit the picture I had painted in my mind. Looking at the expo map, I envisioned rows and rows of table with poster boards, similar to what you might see at a career or job fair.
While there were certainly rows and rows of tables, the displays were nothing I could have ever imagined. The IFT Expo was more like a large strip mall where each supplier had their own boutique shop. Such creativity and care had been taken in producing the displays that it was evident that the companies exhibiting had spent months, if not all year, preparing for this annual event.
IFT 2015 was full of excitement and energy! I got more out of the expo than just learning about the different companies in the food industry and finding necessary ingredients for ongoing and upcoming projects. The IFT Expo helped shape and confirm ideologies I had about the food industry. That is, the food industry is full of passion and everyone participating truly loves what they do. They adore their job and they are devoted to the products they are selling. But, more so, the food industry is full of professionals trying to achieve a common goal – creating great food for the world to enjoy. As a first timer, I was certainly in the right place, with good people from all over the world celebrating the joy of food!
By Samantha Ward