“The focus for our conference is very much on the future – hence the title ‘The Fantastic Future of Food’,” Jon Poole, IFST chief executive, told FoodManufacture.co.uk.
“Given food science and technology is such a broad subject, we have parallel sessions over two days covering subjects from agri-food and engineering right through to sensory and nutrition – very much farm to fork.”
The conference will highlight that the challenges facing the sector have moved a long way in the past 50 years. “Globalisation of the food chain and the resulting issues are complex,” said Poole. “Consumer expectations and tastes have changed – and have become more demanding. But we see that there is a lot to celebrate.
‘At the heart of delivering many of the solutions’
“It is worth stressing that food science and technology lies at the heart of delivering many of the solutions to these big issues – sometimes, among all the negative reporting by the press this gets forgotten. Food science lies behind solutions to most of the big food issues – sustainability, food safety and authenticity, nutrition and health and, of course, new product development.”
The IFST has provided a number of sponsored student places at the conference to encourage new young talent to attend the conference and hopefully they will be inspired by what they hear and see.
The conference programme has been devised by eight of the IFST’s subject interest groups. Each group has been given responsibility for the programming of a half-day session relating to their area of specialism. Their brief was to push the boundaries in terms of exploring the future and in the Sensory session, for example, there is even a grand piano involved.
‘Strong networking element’
“With a two-day conference covering such a breadth of topics, we know that there will be a session of direct interest to delegates,” said Poole. “But we also hope that delegates will use the opportunity to sit in at least one session in a field outside of their normal expertise in order to broaden their professional understanding. Exchanging of ideas – especially cross disciplines is really important to stimulate new thinking. Of course at any event such as this there will also be a strong networking element.”
The IFST has provided a number of sponsored student places at the conference to encourage new young talent to attend the conference.
This year’s keynote address will be delivered by Dr Celia Caulcott, director innovation and skills at the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. Her presentation is titled Science in food: a current opportunity, a future challenge.
The IFST jubilee conference will take place at the Holiday Inn, Cromwell Road, London between May 14–15. More details are available here.
Meanwhile, watch Poole explain more about what the conference aims to deliver in this video interview.
Watch out for reports and video interviews from the conference next week.