ProFood Tech hit its stride March 26-28 welcoming a who’s who of food and beverage companies to McCormick Place, Chicago, with three out of four of the nearly 5,000 attendees being executive-level decision makers with significant influence and purchasing power.
“The quality of attendees was unmatched; Conagra, General Mills, Kellogg’s, Nestle, etc., they were all here. It was an awesome event,” says Jeff Jendryk of Ambitech, a Zachry Group Co.
Turning its successful 2017 debut into an even more influential event, ProFood Tech 2019 saw a 44 percent increase in the number of CEOs and senior management convening with over 400 of the world’s top suppliers. Preliminary returns indicate a 13 percent increase in exhibitor leads on average.
“When we come to ProFood Tech, we’re really looking to be introduced to what’s new and what can take us out of our box—the innovations that can take us where we want to go,” says Ricky Dickson, president, Blue Bell Creameries. “The show was helpful for everything from finding inspiration for new flavor ideas, to food safety insights, to identifying the technologies that allow us to make and sell ice cream the best that we can.”
ProFood Tech 2019, produced by three of the world’s trade show leaders – PACK EXPO, Koelnmesse (organizer of Anuga) and the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) – expanded its international reach as well; welcoming exhibitors from Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, France, India, Lithuania, Mexico, Taiwan, Thailand and Ukraine.
"The second edition of ProFood Tech had strong exhibitor commitments from the start, reaffirming the market’s desire for a comprehensive processing event in North America," says Jim Pittas, president and CEO, PMMI, The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies and the producer of the PACK EXPO portfolio of trade shows. "We are proud that our partnership with Koelnmesse and IDFA provides a show that meets the needs of processing professionals and brings the industry together to address its most critical issues and challenges."
Koelnmesse President and CEO Gerald Böseadds, “ProFood Tech 2019 reacted to the demand of the customers to establish a leading trade fair for food and beverage production technology in the USA.”
The three-day event, spanning nearly 110,000 net square feet of exhibit space, also packed in 25 hours of free, on-floor educational programming in the ProFoodTechKnowledge Hub, produced by IDFA. The three-prong program featured a range of standing room only learning experiences led by industry thought leaders targeting impactful, innovative and disruptive technologies in today’s food and beverage space. And visitors seeking a next-level look at High Pressure Processing took advantage of the concurrent Cold Pressure Council Annual Conference.
“[PMMI, IDFA and Koelnmesse] thank the exhibitors, Partner Program participants and other speakers who presented their innovative products, inventive solutions and enlightening experiences in the Knowledge Hub,” says Michael Dykes, D.V.M., president and CEO, IDFA. “These interactive discussions highlighted only a few of the wide range of technologies and insights offered at this second edition of ProFood Tech. Attendees now have new supplier contacts and applications from other industries that they can use to address the unique challenges facing their businesses.”
Networking opportunities abounded at the ProFood Tech Opening Evening reception, where hundreds gathered to continue discussions from the show floor, meet new people and reconnect with established customers.
“ProFood Tech is a great opportunity to discover new processing technology,” says Samuel Garber, process development manager, Kraft Heinz Company. “As we move forward, we will be addressing sustainability targets, so we are trying to learn how we can bridge that gap in our processes. There have been some pretty neat innovations here at the show that could be helpful in meeting those needs.”
The Packaging & Processing Women’s Leadership Network breakfast brought together more than 120 women—and men— to discuss challenges and ideas and gain insight from speakers Diane Wolf, consultant and former vice president at Kraft Foods and Karen Norheim, executive vice president, American Crane and Equipment Corporation and incoming Chair of Women in Manufacturing.
While networking and education remain staples of ProFood Tech, the technology and innovation on display are the top draws for attendees.
“There are a lot of shows out there, but ProFood Tech offers a really great venue to meet with current as well as new customers,” says Larine Urbina, vice president of communications, Tetra Pak. “It’s a unique opportunity to home in on a targeted audience of food and beverage producers that we want to do business with.”
The future of processing was also on display at ProFood Tech as the Education Pavilion housed students and representatives from schools offering programs in food and beverage processing. Within the pavilion, the Future Innovators Robotics Showcase featured local high school robotics teams’ design, engineering and troubleshooting skills on the show floor. CareerLink Liveconnected PMMI members and consumer packaged goods companies with students and veterans pursuing careers in processing.
ProFood Tech returns to McCormick Place in 2021.