ProFood Tech brings together 9,500 food and beverage professionals

Inaugural processing show exceeds expectations in Chicago.

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Nearly 6,500 attendees with buying power and 3,000 exhibitor personnel came together in early April to attend the first-ever ProFood Tech.

Held April 4-6 at McCormick Place in Chicago, ProFood Tech showcased cutting-edge technologies and innovative solutions within the ever-evolving food and beverage industry. Powered by three of the world’s trade show leaders – Pack Expo, Anuga and the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) – the biennial show was designed to bring the industry together and address the key issues facing food and beverage processing operators in North America.

The three-day event featured 447 of the world’s top processing suppliers, 144,000 net square feet of exhibit floor space and 45 hours of educational programming. This provided attendees the opportunity to exchange ideas with leading processing suppliers from both large operations that serve several market segments as well as smaller niche companies that focus on specific needs.

“The 2017 ProFood Tech Show was a very valuable experience for Axon. We were able to demonstrate our new SLX machine for some existing customers, and picked up leads for several active, short-term projects,” says Bob Williams, vice president and general manager, Axon, powered by ProMach. “We are certainly looking forward to being at the next show in 2019.”

Show producers created ProFood Tech to fill a void in the marketplace. “ProFood Tech reaffirmed our belief that North America needed a comprehensive processing event,” says Charles D. Yuska, president and CEO, PMMI, The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies and the producer of the Pack Expo portfolio of trade shows. “It was developed with massive support across market segments giving us a true pulse of the industry. Together we developed a one-of-a-kind show exclusively catering to the processing industry.”

Showcasing technology from industry sectors including baking and snack, beverage, frozen/prepared foods, dairy and meat/poultry/seafood, ProFood Tech connected the industry, including international suppliers and buyers.

“The positive response of the industry to this new trade fair format confirms our dialogue-oriented concept approach and the interest in a new leading international trade fair in the NAFTA region,” says Gerald Böse, president and CEO, Koelnmesse GmbH. “The high level of internationality of the trade fair premiere confirms our global expertise and industry competence gathered from many leading trade fairs, for example, Anuga and Anuga FoodTec, which we have incorporated into the partnership.”
The ProFood Tech conference program, presented by IDFA, was the largest in North America dedicated to food and beverage processing. The program offered insights into the best practices in processing and engineering, innovations and new ingredients, regulations and food safety, consumer trends and marketing, flavor trends, business and leadership development and health and lifestyle.

“The conference program delivered a commanding overview of the latest trends and advancements in food processing,” says Michael Dykes, president and CEO, IDFA. “Overall, ProFood Tech demonstrated the countless growth opportunities that exist for companies willing to employ new technology and techniques to boost production, efficiency and profits. Attendees now have new supplier contacts, inventive ideas and powerful business solutions they can use to meet their needs and goals.”
The ProFood Tech Learning Hub brought free education to the show floor. The Innovation Stage offered attendees a look at breakthrough technologies, innovative applications and proven techniques from industry experts. The Regulatory Matters sessions focused on expert insights and advice on regulatory issues facing food and beverage processors. Following each Regulatory Matters session, participants took the opportunity to exchange ideas and best practices with peers during roundtable sessions.

“The show floor is extremely diverse. I came to find feeders, sliders and dicers and have made great connections with suppliers. I attended a session on total cost of purchasing equipment that was also extremely beneficial,” notes attendee Supriya Thote, senior technologist, The J.M. Smucker Company. “We are always wondering where to make our next investment, and I can’t wait to share with my team all the information I gathered here. It has helped me get a better understanding of investments we need to make.”

The show supported the industry with a variety of events as well, including the presentation of the Manufacturing Innovation Awards, and the Sustainability Excellence in Manufacturing Awards, presented by the OpX Leadership Network. The Packaging & Processing Women’s Leadership Network breakfast brought together 140 professionals to discuss issues relevant to this growing segment of the workforce. And, the newly formed Cold Pressure Council, convened by PMMI, offered an opportunity for those interested in high pressure processing to exchange ideas and best practices around this cutting-edge technology.

“I remember a little over two years ago when ProFood Tech was just a conversation. I don’t think any of us could imagine such a successful opening event with world-class exhibitors and quality attendees with processing challenges in hand,” shares Emmanuel Cerf, vice president of sales and marketing, Polypack. “I look forward to coming back in two years.”

ProFood Tech will return to Chicago March 26-28, 2019, and continue its biennial schedule in odd-numbered years.

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