Details of the virtual event - also scheduled to take place mid-July - will be unveiled shortly, said the IFT, which took multiple factors into account when making the decision, including:
- The importance of keeping essential food professionals focused on food safety and global supply fulfillment.
- Global travel restrictions due to the virus.
- Shelter in place mandates across the US and globally impacting onsite participation.
- Anticipated self-quarantine and social distancing extending into the summer months.
- Precedent-setting and unprecedented cancellations of other international events.
"IFT is working quickly to develop an informative and engaging virtual experience, allowing participants to easily access important topics, research, and content that was originally developed for the onsite experience. The new virtual experience will also provide opportunities for participants to network, connect, and share knowledge, products, and solutions. Specifics regarding the new virtual experience will be shared in the coming weeks."
Speakers at the event - which includes an extensive education program - have been told to continue preparing their presentations "as we are planning to include all technical research papers (posters) and scientific sessions in the virtual format."
Will exhibitors get a refund?
Asked about exhibitor fees, the IFT said: "For your convenience, IFT will rollover your booth fees and booth selection location in anticipation of IFT21 [McCormick Place, Chicago, July 18-21, 2021] booth selection, which will begin mid-May.
"However, should you decide that you would prefer a refund, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org no later than April 17, 2020."
As for attendees, it said: "We encourage all current attendees to hold refund requests until virtual experience specifics are shared. Details will be shared well in advance of the June 5, 2020 refund deadline giving registrants ample time to make a decision. Should you decide to request a refund now up to the refund deadline, no administration fee will be incurred."
The IFT show, which typically attracts 20,000+ attendees from multiple countries, is the biggest gathering of food science professionals in the world.
- Read the FAQs here.