For four days in October, Chicago will be at the heart of the global food and beverage industry as it plays host to Process Expo, the biennial event that brings together the world’s most successful food and beverage processors, packaging professionals, equipment manufacturers and leaders in academia. Process Expo is owned and organized by the Food Processing Suppliers Association (FPSA), a global trade association serving suppliers to the food and beverage industries.

The trade show and conference will be Oct. 8 through 11 at McCormick Place in Chicago, with four pre-conference workshops scheduled for Oct. 7. Process Expo features an expansive exhibit hall offering new products and services, an extensive education program focusing on the most important topics of the day including food safety, sustainability and automation and dozens of special events including five live working production lines, an Augmented Reality (AR) Showcase, women’s breakfast, award programs and so much more.

More than 500 exhibiting companies with manufacturing solutions in processing and packaging across all segments of the diverse food and beverage industry will offer new products and services on an expansive show floor.  Some of the leading industry companies exhibiting include AmTrade Systems, Grasselli SSI, Grote Company, Handtmann, Hollymatic Corporation, JBT, Marlen International, Middleby Processing and Packaging, Multivac, Poly-clip System, Provisur Technologies, Reiser, SPX Flow, Treif USA, Weber and many more. Special events on the show floor will be in partnership with several international organizations, including the American Association of Meat Processors (AAMP), and interpack, hosted by Messe Dusseldorf, IFFA, hosted by Messe Frankfurt.

Several exhibitors will be chosen to participate in the Innovations Showcase, with finalists in six vertical markets, including bakery/snacks, beverages, dairy, meat/poultry, prepared foods, fruits/vegetables and pet foods to present to a judging panel of leading industry buyers during the first day of the Process Expo. Awards will be presented to the winner in each category. In addition, attendees will vote for the People’s Choice Award on site, and the winner will be announced on Oct. 11.

“There are dozens of special events being planned for the event, truly offering something for everyone in the industry whether they process food, beverages, cannabis, pet food, or so much  more,” said David Seckman, President and CEO of FPSA. “Our event team has been hard at work to ensure that our attendees will have a chance to see examples of machinery to integrate into their operation and envision how to solve production challenges and the show floor will feature five live working production lines.”

The five production lines will run three times daily to show attendees the entire process. The lines include the Frozen Pizza Line, which moves from the creation of the crust through depositing sauces and toppings and packaging the finished product. The Sliced Pepperoni Line will begin with raw meat processed in a vacuum filler before being transferred to a smokehouse truck. From there, the sticks of pepperoni will be sliced and loaded for packaging in shingle-style packs commonly seen in the supermarket. The Ground Beef Patties automated line begins with introduction of raw beef into the grinder, passing throw formation of patties, interleaving and stacking of patties, denesting the packages and flex loading into sealed packages of four patties commonly found in today’s supermarkets. The Sliced Cheese Line, sponsored by Dairy Farmers of America, moves from the separator and HTST all the way through to post-packaging inspection and will produce a variety pack of cheese. The Pet Food Kibble Line begins with a frozen block grinder before moving the product on to the mixer for further size reduction. From there, the product will move to the stuffer and then the kibbler where attendees will see the final product take shape.

“We have developed some wonderful partnership for the 2019 event and look forward to the Butcher’s Guild bringing members of Team USA, who will be participating in the 2020 World Butchers Challenge, to do butchering demonstrations on the Process Expo Show floor,” added Seckman. “We are also working closely with FPSA’s Women’s Alliance Network who will be announcing the winners of the Red Circle Honors program which recognizes women and companies that have had a positive impact on women’s careers and gender balance in the food and beverage industry. Their Women’s Alliance Breakfast is held on October 10th featuring keynote speaker Suzanne Strassburger of Strassburger Steaks.”

There are dozens of show features planned for Process Expo 2019, including an Augmented Reality (AR) Showcase which will provide attendees with innovative new ways to experience processing and packaging equipment with augmented reality holograms and training demonstrations. The American Meat Science Association (AMSA) will bring the top three winners in the undergraduate, masters and PhD categories of the RMC student ePoster Competition to present their work. And FPSA is once again working in conjunction with the Greater Chicago Food Depository (GCFD) to run the 2019 Defeat Hunger campaign, with all proceeds and donations received to help fight hunger in the greater Chicago area.

The Process Expo U educational program will offer three components. On Oct. 7, four certificate courses will be offered. They include Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) Training, FSPCA Foreign Supplier Verification Program, Preventive Control of Animal Food and Dairy Processing 101. In addition, the Food Safety Summit will offer courses focused on protecting the brand, working with local food and drug officials, the food safety transportation act, microbial intervention, tips for produce processors and food fraud and intentional adulteration.

Sessions in the general technical Process Expo U program will address critical areas such as automation technologies, turning data into information, creating the secure digital factory, sustainability, alternative forms of production, innovative technologies coming to manufacturing facilities, labor saving improvements, balancing capital investment with sustainability goals, energy savings in food production and packaging and more. A full list of courses can be found on NP