CHICAGO — As one of the most comprehensive food and beverage processing shows in North America, ProFood Tech is a place for baking and snack companies to source cutting-edge technologies and innovative solutions to meet changing consumer and regulatory demands.

The 2019 edition of this biennial show, to be held March 26-28 at McCormick Place in Chicago, will include 7,000 processing professionals, 400 suppliers, 125,000 square feet of exhibit floor and 25 hours of educational programming.

ProFood Tech is the only North American event focused exclusively on all food and beverage sectors, including bakery and snack, and is powered by three of the world’s tradeshow leaders — PMMI, Pack Expo and the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA). The event will offer a full range of processing solutions from large suppliers that serve several market segments to smaller niche suppliers focusing on more specific needs.

Consumer demand has led to the growth of healthy yet indulgent snacks and convenience foods, new flavors, different portion sizes and completely new formulations, according to “Snack Food, Packaging and Processing Market Assessment and Trends,” recently released by PMMI.

The report outlines four top consumer trends creating operational challenges facing snack and bakery processors. Demand for better-for-you foods requires new production lines for these types of options. Meanwhile, desire for fewer calories forces smaller portion sizes; on-the-go snacking necessitates resealability; and demand for more flavor variety drives s.k.u. growth.

The healthy snacking craze is expected to grow at a projected compound annual growth rate of 5.1% over the next few years. Nuts/seeds and fruit snacks are anticipated to account for 27% of the market share in 2025. Combination snacks — including a healthy component such as fruit or nuts paired with meats, cheese or crackers — are increasing in popularity. In some cases, combination snacks are replacing meals.

The report also pointed out the increased demand for gluten/allergen-free products, creating a need for manufacturers to set up separate gluten- or allergen-free production lines, manage production schedules to minimize clean-in-place and changeover time between batches, and implement proper cleaning techniques to eliminate cross-contamination risks.

Sanitary equipment design is also an important goal for processors. Sourcing the right equipment to help meet Food Safety Modernization Act regulations may mean investing in metal and foreign object detection equipment, including X-ray machinery. Processors seek equipment without areas where food can pool or collect. Clean-in-place and complete washdown are critical features bakers and snack manufacturers increasingly seek on their processing lines.

In addition to the tradeshow, educational offerings include the ProFood Tech Knowledge Hub, produced by IDFA. The Knowledge Hub will offer a range of free learning experiences from industry thought leaders in three separate venues on the show floor. The program will address pressing business challenges with fresh ideas and strategies, discussions on best practices and deep dives into consumer trends that are changing the food and beverage landscape.

The Knowledge Hub venues are the Impact Zone, the Innovation Zone and the Disruption Zone.

The Impact Zone will encourage interactive discussions and offer ways to learn from the experiences and successes of industry colleagues. The sessions will include discussions on trade and tariffs, strategies for surviving food recalls, navigating cybersecurity and the Internet of Things, and artificial intelligence as an answer to the workforce shortage.

The Innovation Zone will feature exhibitor and sponsor presentations on breakthrough technologies as well as ideas and formulations designed to spark creativity.

The Disruption Zone will deliver sessions for professionals to learn more about implementing disruptive technologies to meet consumer demands. Topics will investigate questions like: When did “processing” become a bad word? Is blockchain the answer or the question? Is e-commerce good or bad?

These forums will discuss challenges, uncover solutions and help processing professionals learn more about the technology and trends that are influencing the industry. The content and conversations will pack each day’s schedule, providing attendees the opportunity to overcome obstacles and improve overall return on investment. For more information and to register online, visit

Sosland Publishing Company’s inaugural Trends and Innovations Seminar, presented by Food Business News, sister publication of Baking & Snack and Milling & Baking News, will be held March 27-28 in McCormick Place, highlighting the most dynamic trends reshaping the food and beverage industry. Registrants will be eligible to receive a free registration to ProFood Tech. Go to for more information and to register online.