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Third annual Manufacturing Food Futures conference

 
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This year, the EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing (CIM) in Food held its 3rd annual conference, Manufacturing Food Futures, at the University of Birmingham on 30-31 March. The EPSRC CIM in Food was established in December 2013 and is a partnership between the University of Nottingham, the University of Birmingham and Loughborough University.

Delegates were welcomed by Professor Shahin Rahimifard and our first invited speaker, Emma McLeod from Mondelēz, got the conference underway with ‘Challenges for the Future of our Food’ and spoke topically around sustainability and the importance of the Centre’s research.

The two day conference focused on three main topics: Food Waste, Redistributed Manufacture and Food Structure. Experts in the field were invited to speak on each of the topics and the EPSRC CIM in Food researchers presented some of the latest research conducted at the Centre.

‘Food Microstructure in the Era of Personalized Food Products’ by Professor José M. Aguilera Radic explained the term ‘neurogastronomy’ as being the study of food sensations in the brain. His talk on Gastronomic Engineering linked food engineering with material science and highlighted the important role chef’s play. Specific research has focused on modifying food structure to have a desired effect such as using protein to delay/restrict starch gelatinisation as well as using microgels as texture modified foods. Dr Fotis Spyropoulos discussed ‘Formulation Design and Manufacture of Pickering emulsions’ and how they can be processed to have controlled release of molecules.  ‘Manufacturing Pickering emulsions: pitfalls and how to avoid them’ by Dr Paul Clegg, a food physicist from University of Edinburgh, spoke about creating Pickering emulsions through increasing the interface and therefore creating more colliding particles.

Professor Alexander Mathys from ETH Zurich presented ‘Innovative food production systems driven by resource efficiency and sustainability principles’ with details on Life Cycle Sustainability Analysis (LCSA). Dr Patrick Webb spoke on his research group’s work on ‘Water sustainability for the food manufacturing industry’. Day one’s plenary talks concluded with Dr John Ingram presenting ‘Redistributing Manufacturing: localised food systems’ using case studies from around Oxfordshire to illustrate what the manufacturing future might be like.

The second day kicked off with Dr Gavin Milligan speaking on ‘Directions in Waste Valorisation, Case studies from FoodWasteNet’ which included some interesting statistics on the amount of edible waste from a variety of vegetables – leaving us with a bit of food for thought. Dr David Gray followed on introducing CIM research at the University of Nottingham with a focus on ‘Unlocking Ingredients of Value from Underutilised Biomass’. To finish, Professor Savvas Tassou from Brunel University presented interesting findings on different refrigeration systems in his talk titled ‘The RCUK Centre for Sustainable Energy Use in Food Chains - Research into Energy Demand Reduction’.

Researchers at the Centre showcased current research and projects relevant to the industry whilst addressing the Centre’s two grand challenges: Innovative materials, products and processes and sustainable food supply and manufacture. The diversity of research presented spanned widely from projects examining insects as an ingredient source to novel processing techniques and developing waste classifications for industry implementation.

The Food Futures workshop was held in the afternoon of the second day of the conference. The workshop, led by Professor Peter Lillford and Professor Ian Norton, gathered members of the food industry, academia and other key stakeholders to discuss and highlight key areas of interests for food research in the upcoming years. 

The Centre’s work is generating substantial interest with delegate numbers growing year on year. This year 134 delegates attended the conference (with over 60 industry representatives).

The annual EPSRC CIM in Food conference provides an excellent platform for the food industry and academia to interact and exchange ideas and if you missed the conference here are some photographs captured over the days.

Posted on Wednesday 19th April 2017

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