Welcome to the New York Institute of Food Technologists and the Central New Jersey Subsection

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The NYIFT, which was established in 1942 as a regional section of the Institute of Food Technologists, has much to offer its members.  The section includes members from Northern and Central New Jersey, New York City and Southeastern New York State (excluding Long Island).  To serve members better, a Central New Jersey (CNJ) subsection was founded in 1980. Membership in the CNJ subsection is included in your NYIFT membership dues.

A Note from our Chairs

Spencer Sullivan – PepsiCo NYIFT Chair

Amy Gilliland CNJIFT Chair

As we mark one year since New York and New Jersey shutdown due to COVID-19, many of us have paused to reflect on the past twelve months and at the same time, looked hopefully to a better year ahead. The pandemic has affected all of us both personally and professionally.  We hope that the way we interact with friends and family return to normal very soon. Most likely the way we work will never be quite the same. For those of us working in the food industry, this past year was a mixed bag. The foodservice sector was devastated by shutdowns and capacity limits but in the offset, as more people made meals at home, the retail food industry held steady. There was even an uptick in declining segments such as breakfast cereals.

NY/CNJ IFT faced many challenges in the last year. First and foremost, IFT Sections exist at the local level to allow food professionals to routinely gather together to enjoy the camaraderie of our shared profession and to add to our knowledge base with top-notch guest speakers. As we shifted format from live to virtual meetings, without a doubt, we lost the opportunity to network and socialize with our peers. At the same time we have seen an increase in participation for our speaker events. In fact most events have seen a two-fold increase in attendance. Accolades to the program chairs as we had a very strong cast of guest speakers this year. Virtual access made it easier for our regular attendees to participate, and it also eliminated geographic barriers. We routinely had participants linked in from across the country and in one case, as far away as Melbourne, Australia.  A year ago none of us would have imagined that a holiday beer tasting event could occur on Zoom, but it did, and it was great fun.

We also made progress this year on finding new ways to stay connected with each other. Our virtual Suppliers Expo was a great way for suppliers and customers to interact safely. We also initiated a new Consultants Forum as an ongoing means for consultants to network with each other to learn best practices and to identify consulting opportunities.  Also, as we work to stay relevant and current in this age of the internet, we will soon be unveiling a refreshed NYIFT website.

Our 2020-2021 speaker program will end with our traditional joint NY/Nutmeg IFT meeting hosted by PepsiCo which will be held virtually. The meeting will be preceded by our NYIFT Board/Excom Meeting via zoom at 3:00 pm ET. All members are invited and encouraged to participate in the Board/Excom meeting. Learn what our Section is doing and plans for the future. We welcome new ideas and inspiration and when you’re ready to participate more fully, join a committee or a task force. We are currently seeking volunteers for our Golf Outing (scheduled for June 14), Suppliers Expo (scheduled for Sept 14), Social Media Marketing, and more.

We’ve had a very successful year despite of the challenges that COVID presented.  As Chairs, we would like to thank our board members, our administrator, Gerri Cristantiello, and all our Section members.  The Board showed both flexibility and creativity that allowed us to keep our program year intact. Gerri provided perspective from other sections and she provided continuity from past years. Our section members enthusiastically embraced a new way of meeting and attended in record numbers. As we start planning for the 2021-2022 season over the summer, we certainly hope that we can get back to pre-COVID “normal” but at the same time, we will work to integrate all of the learnings that we’ve gained this year so that we emerge as an even stronger organization.