Process Expo, The Global Food Equipment and Technology Show®, closed its doors at the McCormick Place Convention Center in Chicago last week, marking its eighth successful edition before the show rebrands to EATS in 2025, The Equipment And Technology Show for Food & Beverage. With over 385 exhibitors and thousands of visitors from over 60 countries, the 2023 edition delivered strong attendance. This year’s exhibit hall featured a product showcase from 18 countries, three live production lines, two new feature areas and 35 education and career development sessions that leaned into challenges and topics that the industry is trying to address.
Calling it the grand finale edition, Constantin von Vieregge, President & CEO of Messe Frankfurt Inc., said: “Process Expo’s 2023 edition signifies the beginning of a new chapter. As we step ahead with a new vision, we are glad to have the support of the industry and our partners in creating a more business-oriented and innovation-driven platform.” Reflecting the sentiment with a mix of emotions and excitement, David Seckman, President & CEO of FPSA, explained: “Process Expo was established in 2010 as an independent trade show and with every edition it has grown its credibility with the strong performance, featuring manufacturers throughout the supply chain, launching a variety of show floor activities and delivering the right experiences and connections for the industry. We continue our mission in making this the key business meeting platform for the industry. As the industry evolves, Process Expo is evolving to reflect these changes and will continue to be the technology platform that keeps the food and beverage industry moving forward with EATS in 2025.”
Robust education, career & skill development programs
Covering the themes of safety, innovation, sustainability, and technology with more than 25 educational sessions over three days – the Food for Thought feature area ensured that visitors gained a wealth of knowledge, practical advice, new solutions, and fresh perspectives. With expert exhibitor speakers and BSI as an education partner for key career tracks, the platform created a robust program spread across two theaters at the 2023 Edition.
The newly added show feature on “career development” created pathways for young talent and early-career professionals to network with brands through a host of guided tours, industry roundtables, and network meet-ups. A Career Fair, hosted on the closing day of the show enabled attendees and students to discover a wide range of job openings and internships, and engage with recruiters who are actively seeking talent to contribute to the food production industry. Mock interview sessions were conducted for students and young professionals to help them gain real-time feedback on areas of improvement and interview tips. An exclusive Q&A with food industry experts from PepsiCo and BSI had attendees discussing commonly asked questions about getting started and progressing their careers in the food industry.
Live & Exclusive: Training through Production Lines
Twenty-seven companies, all providing a different link in the supply chain, came together to build lines of actual food products on the trade show floor. The Production Lines showcased the art and science as well as the ease and complexities of the production processes for three different sectors – Meat, Bakery, and Pet Food. Exclusive to Process Expo, this feature area is a unique chance to observe technology in action and once again proved to be a major draw for attendees, enabling them to see and understand the solutions they need for efficient automation.
From technology to techniques
The Market powered by Chicago Meat Collective served six butchering demos covering techniques of breaking down a hog, a lamb and transforming them into neat cuts of meat and processing further into sausage. This new feature area was an attraction across all three days leaving the industry with new insights, food service skills, tips and tricks. Nicole Utne, Director of Quality Assurance, PepsiCo shared: “One thing I found really interesting was the breakdown of animal species and to know that education has been offered right at the frontline level. It’s not just about products but really going back down to the roots. There are very few places that showcase a whole animal to breakdown like that!”
Highlighting top technological innovations on the show floor, the Process Expo 2023 Innovation Awards were presented to exhibiting companies: German Bionic for Best New Product, TMCAqua for Best New Technology for Sustainability, and Weber Inc. for Best New Technology for Automation. (Learn more about the winning products)
Celebrating the achievements and progress of women in the F&B industry, the 2023 Women’s Alliance Network Red Circle Honors were awarded to
- Rising Star: Alidea Boerhave, Rome Grinding Solutions Innovation and Inspiration: Nicole Cammarata, Commercial Food Sanitation;
- Male Ally: Daniel Voit, Blentech Corporation
- Career Excellence: Kohl Schrader, Ph.D. Poly-clip System Achievement in Developing and Promoting Women: Bollin Label (Learn More about the award and winners).
FPSA Chairman, Brian Perkins shared “The Red Circle Honors represent a powerful testament to the remarkable individuals and companies driving positive change in our industry. We celebrate their dedication to advancing diversity, innovation, and excellence.”
In addition, Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery awarded the title of the 2023 "Bakery of the Year" to The Highland Bakery based on its strong growth, new product capabilities, industry leadership, and overall excellence. (Learn more about the award and winner)
Robert Scott, Regional Marketing Manager at Marel, shared “we’ve been able to put together some deals on the floors for specific machines so it’s been very successful. There have been conversations about big projects that attendees are focused on in the future as well. It’s been a good mix!” Ryan Van Maasdam, VP of Sales, Rome Grinding Solutions “I think attendance has been pretty solid. It's an opportunity to get in front of the customers so they can actually see and touch some of our equipment, kind of get eyes on it versus Zoom meetings or sending emails.”
From product information to inspirations, from tech advancements to trends and from new connections to business solutions, the 2023 edition served the perfect business-driven platform ensuring exhibitors and attendees had a lot to discuss, explore, celebrate and look forward to. Michael Lynch, Vice President Marketing at Robert Reiser & Co., Inc. shared: “People are purchasing! Every time you hear a bell means a machine is sold and we have been ringing it pretty well.” Elaborating about their participation next edition he added “I think EATS is a great concept, adding more food companies and bringing in new blood will drum it up a little more, and attendance will be great. We are already committed to 2025.”
Rob Adams from TI Cold said: “We've been associated with this show for a long time so if it's evolving and EATS is going to be introducing new clients and opening doors to new potential customers, we would definitely look at it as well.” Michelle Harrison, Burns & McDonnell confirmed: “We have already reserved our booth for EATS 2025!”
Looking ahead with a new vision, The Equipment And Technology Show for Food & Beverage – EATS, will take place from October 28 – 30, 2025 at the McCormick Place in Chicago. For more details, visit the website at www.theEATSshow.com
Messe Frankfurt international trade fairs for the food industry
With four trade fairs on four continents, Messe Frankfurt tracks the dynamic growth in the global food processing industry. These international trade shows give impetus to the sector, showcase innovations and connect experts from all over the world. In addition to Process Expo these are IFFA in Germany, Tecno Fidta in Argentina and Meat Pro Asia in Thailand. Further information at: www.food-technologies.messefrankfurt.com