By John McDevitt

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Dietitians, researchers, healthcare providers and policy makers are among thousands attending a four-day food and nutrition conference that kicked off Saturday at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

In addition to the latest science-based research on food and nutrition; those at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ event will also learn about the latest products from hundreds of exhibitors.

“It’s giving these 350 companies the opportunity to showcase some of these new products that they have. Products with low sodium, no added sugars, organics; whatever they may be or even for more gluten-free living. For people who may have food allergies or lactose intolerant there are some dairy free options,” says Ryan O’Malley with the Academy.

According to The Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau an estimated 11,000 are expected to attend the conference with a total economic impact for the region nearly $23 million.