Genetics and big data lead IFST spring conference

By Rick Pendrous

- Last updated on GMT

Advances in food science are set to revolutionise the supply chain
Advances in food science are set to revolutionise the supply chain

Related tags Food supply chain Nutrition Technology Director

Technological advances that are helping food and drink producers to deliver safe and nutritious food to the consumer is the focus of the Institute of Food Science & Technology’s (IFST’s) spring conference, which takes place next month.

The event, which takes place on April 7 at King’s College, located on The Strand in London will focus on developments, many of which are usually seen as outside of the normal scope of food science and technology, claimed the IFST.

It will explore how food production from farm to fork is changing through the implementation of new science and technologies and how the roles of those working in the sector are likely to change as a result.

Global confectionery firm Mars

David Crean, vice president with responsibility for research and development at global confectionery firm Mars, will talk about genetic sequencing in the supply chain.

“In summary, the hypothesis is that raw materials, factories and products may have a specific microbiome and changes to that microbiome could indicate increased risk from pathogens, adulteration and fraud,”​ said Crean.

“A number of companies have now joined up with IBM and are the founding members of Sequencing the Food Supply Chain Consortium. This talk will demonstrate the new tools, approaches and thinking that are now needed to secure a quality food chain.”

In another presentation, Professor John Mathers, director of the Human Nutrition Research Centre at Newcastle University, will discuss developments in personalised nutrition.

‘A big driver of innovation’

“Personal health is now a big driver of innovation in food-related industries​,” said Mathers. “The opportunity is to use the emerging science on how dietary choices interact with genes and other personal characteristics to improve health and wellbeing. This is leading to the integration of biology, digital technologies and big data handling systems as the bases for new companies, products and services.”

Other speakers on the day will include: Ian Noble, senior research and development director at Mondelēz, Ian Campbell, director of health and life sciences at Innovate UK, and Matt Rayment, group business development manager at the Manufacturing Technology Centre.

“We have such a wide range of topics and high profile speakers who have been invited to provide us with some really forward-thinking insights that share a common theme,”​ said Jon Poole, IFST chief executive.

“With huge advances in technologies, how do we see technical roles changing over the next five to 10 years? How do we prepare and develop people to be equipped and ready to take full advantage of these technologies? These questions lie at the heart of IFST’s purpose.”

For more information visit IFST Spring Conference​.

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