IFT FIRST 2024

The Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), a nonprofit scientific organisation with global members spanning academia, government, and industry and committed to advancing the science of food and its application across the global food system, is proud to announce the return of the large format Startup Pavilion to IFT FIRST in 2024.

This popular showcase of global food and food tech startups attracted nearly 9,000 visitors and featured more than 85 companies from 14 countries last year with innovations ranging from technological solutions that improve ingredient quality and safety to innovative consumers goods already on the market. Only 100 total spots are available.

The Startup Pavilion brings together food startups and food-related startups in all stages of growth to McCormick Place in Chicago, the site of IFT’s annual event. This year’s event, which is expected to attract more than 17,000 ingredient providers, business leaders, product developers, food scientists and other members of the science of food community, is being held July 14-17, 2024.

“The Startup Pavilion is an exciting opportunity for innovative startups from across the globe to showcase their solutions to investors, key decision-makers, and industry stakeholders that they may not otherwise have access to,” said IFT CEO Christie Tarantino-Dean.

“The Startup Pavilion encapsulates this year’s IFT FIRST theme of collaboration and innovation as we highlight game-changing products and applications with the potential to transform the food system.”

Also returning this year as part of the Startup Pavilion is The Pitch, a multi-stage rapid-pitch competition spanning three days where startups compete for prizes totaling $15,000. Each round of the competition is judged by a panel of professionals who represent the entire global food ecosystem, including those from venture capitalist firms and startup incubators, innovation leaders, academic researchers, research and design professionals, and government officials. Finalists from The Pitch will once again have the opportunity to attend an invitation-only founders and funders networking event that connects startups and social enterprises with potential investors and supporting partners.

Last year, Helaina, a biotech company whose technology platform replicates bioactive functional proteins found in the body, took home The Pitch grand prize of $10,000. SnapDNA, whose groundbreaking technology reduces pathogen detection in food from days to hours, and unClassic foods, which creates a plant-based meat substitute from oyster mushrooms, were selected as runners-up, each receiving $2500. The prize money for The Pitch is provided by the Seeding The Future Foundation.

"By recognising and supporting game-changing new approaches highlighted by participants in the Startup Pavilion, The Pitch, and the Global Food System Challenge, we move closer to the goal of implementing creative and impactful solutions that can provide the growing global population with equitable access to affordable, safe, and nutritious food,” added Seeding The Future Foundation founder Bernhard van Lengerich.

In partnership with IFT, the Seeding The Future Foundation funds the annual Seeding The Future Global Food System Challenge, which invites scientists, engineers, innovators, entrepreneurs, and multidisciplinary teams to submit their game-changing innovations that will help transform the food system, each vying for part of the $1 million that is awarded to Grand Prize, Growth Grant, and Seed Grant winners.

At IFT FIRST, winners from this year's Challenge will discuss their winning innovations with attendees and are also invited to join The Pitch finalists at the founders and funders networking event.

To secure a spot in the Startup Pavilion, click here.

Attendee and exhibitor registration opens March 1, 2024. To start planning for IFT FIRST, go to iftevent.org.

Upcoming Events Submit an Event

July

The Good Food & Wine Show is back, the ultimate food and wine adventure.

CeMAT Australia, a leading tradeshow for intralogistics, robotics and automation, warehousing, supply chain management and materials handling, will take place on 23-25 July 2024 at the Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre.

Australia's third National Food Waste Summit is on 24-25 July at the MCEC in Melbourne. An impressive line-up of international speakers and Australian experts will help accelerate the fight against food waste.

August

The inaugural Dark Side of Wine celebrates and reveals the dark arts of Rutherglen in North East Victoria, with a series of immersive experiences taking place throughout the world-famous wine region.

The theme for AIFST24, Food Science: Navigating Our Future, speaks to the challenges and exciting opportunities ahead for the agri-food industry and the important role food science and technology will play. 

The Regional Australia Institute is hosting the Regions Rising National Summit 2024 – The New Frontier, where local, national, and international leaders will discuss the changes shaping Regional Australia at the National Convention Centre - Canberra, in August.

Food Expo PRO is Asia's key trade event for food and drink business, offering an international food festival, and seminars and forums discussing the latest developments and market opportunities in the food industry.

September

As the only vending industry show in South-East Asia, Vend ASEAN is an indispensable platform for expanding into the South-East Asian Market.

The Global FoodBanking Network (GFN), in partnership with Foodbank Australia, will host the inaugural GFN Global Summit 2024 in Sydney, Australia, 9-12 September. The Summit will be a dynamic, international conference that shapes solutions to the challenges of hunger, food security, and sustainability.

The 12th ICSD 2024 is inspired from the critical challenge of human, environmental, and economic sustainability concerning the present and future generations in a global-scale context. The theme is: "Creating a unified foundation for the Sustainable Development: research, practice and education".