Technical Field Trips


Technical Field Trips are designed to take you out of the classroom and into the real world to gain an insider’s view of the unique ways food science is currently being applied in commercial food environments.

All Technical Field Trips will depart from and return to McCormick Place South, Gate 3, at the times listed in the tour descriptions. Please arrive 15 minutes prior to scheduled departure time. Only registered attendees are permitted on Technical Field Trips.

Select the appropriate Technical Field Trip from the Ticket Required events options when registering. Tickets will be mailed with your registration materials. No exchange or refund after May 29, 2015. IFT reserves the right to cancel Technical Field Trips which do not meet minimum participation requirements. You will receive notification and a refund if canceled.

Please note that facilities reserve the right to review registration lists and deny participation to individuals they deem as having a conflict of interest. Participants may be required to sign a confidentiality agreement.

Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) – Main Campus: The Institute for Food Safety and Health (IFSH) Center for Nutrition Research and The University Technology Park
Monday, July 13
8:30 – 11:30 a.m., $30

The Center for Nutrition Research (CNR) conducts human nutrition and clinical studies to determine the health benefits of foods and food components in a variety of specialty areas.  CNR substantiates health claims through evidence-based science. Participants on the tour will see the Clinical Nutrition Research Center with a metabolic kitchen, human subject feeding suites, multiple clinical examination rooms, and the biochemistry lab that includes a state-of-the-art automated clinical analyzer for real-time patient specimen analysis. The University Technology Park at IIT (UTP) is Illinois’ and Chicago’s premier location for established and startup technology companies to grow and thrive in areas such as smart grid, food technology, and life sciences. The UTP has many facilities including a brand-new incubator, state-of-the-art move-in-ready office suite, a business technology center and wet/dry lab spaces. Emerging companies can hit the ground running with flexible lab and office space, or longer-term build-to-suit options. The high-tech companies at UTP benefit from unparalleled access to like-minded entrepreneurs and researchers, IIT’s high-caliber student work force, funding assistance, and the full range of sophisticated equipment and instrumentations on IIT’s campus. Participants on the tour will see selected open office, lab and incubator spaces as well as a case study presentation from a UTP tenant. Non-slip shoes with no open toes are necessary for walking in the pilot plant and laboratory areas.  Protective glasses, lab coats, and hard hats will be provided as needed. For additional information on the IFSH Center for Nutrition Research and The University Technology Park, visit their websites at and

Monday, July 13
1:00 – 5:00 p.m., $30

Imbibe is an industry leader in beverage development and flavor chemistry. Since 1963, Imbibe has been innovating and creating flavors for the top beverage brands and retail chains. The tour will take place at Imbibe’s Beverage Innovation Center, a 40,000 square foot facility with an R&D team which includes beverage scientists, flavor chemists, manufacturing specialists, and two PhD’s. Participants will learn how beverages are created from concept to commercialization and have the opportunity to walk through technical rooms such as the flavor and application labs, pilot plant, and analytical lab and learn directly from the foremost experts in the field. The second half of the tour will include a hands-on presentation on “Exploring Superfruits”, which will included a tasting and interactive discussion on exotic fruits, flavor extracts, and how developers formulate with them to produce a commercial beverage. No perfume or fragrance and non-slip closed toe shoes are required. For a brief introduction to Imbibe, view this short media presentation.

Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) – Moffett Campus: The Institute for Food Safety and Health (IFSH)
Tuesday, July 14
8:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., $30

The Institute for Food Safety and Health (IFSH) was launched in April 2011 as part of the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT). At the Moffett Campus, IFSH houses four centers: National Center for Food Safety and Technology (NCFST), Center for Processing Innovation (CPI), Center for Nutrition Research (CNR), and Center for Specialty Programs (CSP). The NCFST is the legacy consortium of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Illinois Institute of Technology, and over 60 food industry members.  At the NCFST, FDA research scientists and IIT professors, technicians, and graduate students work collaboratively on food safety research and education. The CPI conducts innovative applied science research on new and emerging processing technologies. The CNR conducts pre-clinical (Moffett Campus) and clinical studies (IIT Main Campus) on health promoting aspects of foods and ingredients. The CSP operates a select agent lab (Clostridium botulinum) and conducts unique proficiency testing programs. New at IFSH is The Food Safety Innovation Center that features an attractive workshop space for subscribed members and sponsors to leverage the food safety training tools and experience of the IFSH research collaborative mission. The primary focus of the new center is to serve the food safety needs of small and medium scale food processors by offering an interactive workshop and clinic environment. It is located adjacent to the GMP pilot plant and kitchen suite at Moffett Campus. The tour of the facilities will highlight the expertise of IFSH by showcasing the new Food Safety Innovation Center, the Bio-containment pilot plant, the GMP pilot plant, the processing areas for high pressure, pulsed light, cool plasma, and laboratories for microbiological and instrumental analysis. Non-slip closed toe shoes are required. Protective glasses, lab coats, and hard hats will be provided as needed. For additional information on the Institute for Food Safety and Health, visit their website at

The Plant
Tuesday, July 14
9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., $35

The Plant is a new kind of organization in a very old building. It’s part vertical farm, part food business incubator, part research and education space – and when completed, it will be entirely off the grid. From its beginnings as a 93,500 square foot meat packing facility, The Plant is being converted into a net-zero energy vertical farm and food business incubator that will eventually divert over 10,000 tons of food waste from landfills each year to meet all of its heat and power needs.  A complex and highly interrelated system, The Plant holds indoor demonstration farms and educational facilities operated by non-profit Plant Chicago, NFP and incubates sustainable food businesses by offering permanent spaces at low rent and low energy costs through Bubbly Dynamics, LLC. Participants will learn about The Plant’s mission, business structure, sustainability model, and how the facility and anaerobic digester operates. The tour of the facility will highlight the demonstration farms which includes aquaponics, mushrooms, and an outdoor farm and will include a visit to one of the tenant spaces to view how the facility is being utilized by actual businesses. The Plant is still very much a construction zone and is not currently accessible to wheelchairs or guests with significant mobility issues. Low heel, closed toe shoes are required.  To learn more about The Plant, visit their website at