Unable to meet in person, we needed to pivot and the conference programme was adjusted without compromising on quality, depth and richness.
Prof. Olga Martin Belloso, president of EFFoST started the day by giving a warm welcome to all delegates tuning in from all around the world. Assoc. Prof. Uri Lesmes, EFFoST 2020 Conference Chair then spoke about the need to pivot and adjust the conference programme for this online format, without compromising on quality, depth and richness. He also compared the conference programme of the Live plenary event to a 3-course meal with 3 nutritious plenary Sessions, namely: Food science, technology and health in the 21st century; Agri-Food innovations and entrepreneurship; and Feeding the world today and tomorrow.
Prof. David Raubermheimer kicked off the scientific programme in the plenary session “Food science, technology and health in the 21st century”. Here he talked about the imbalance in the entire food system, by viewing it from the natural world and how animals behave. During the same session, Prof. Indrawati Oey underlined the need for a holistic approach to food processing taking into account the consumer's perceptions for the adaptation to new innovative technologies.
We were also joined by Wim Haentjens from the 'Food systems & Bioeconomy’ Unit of the ‘Healthy
Planet’ Directorate of DG Research & Innovation of European Commission who spoke about future EU R&I funding and policies.
During the “Agri-Food innovations and entrepreneurship” plenary session, Prof. Alexander Mathys spoke about innovative technologies such as the possibility to milk micro-algae in a continuous process to collect nutrients, without having to kill the micro-algae. Later that session, Prof. Christoph Hartmann presented opportunities to use AI in food innovation, stating that “there is no answer in big data unless you have a good question”. Closing the second plenary session, Prof. Ester Segal shared her views on biosensors to detect bacteria to develop antimicrobial functional packaging and surfaces that can be used in the food sector.
Just before lunch, we were joined by three promising startups that presented their story and shared some
of the science underlying their creative solutions. These novel products are set to revolutionize our plates and impact the world of ingredients.
Social events are usually a highlight of EFFoST conferences. Even though this year we weren’t able to have a welcome reception or a conference dinner, we were determined to maintain the annual EFFoST
pub quiz. Many delegates joined to show their knowledge in food facts, such as which country eats the most ice cream (Finland), the origins of falafel (Egypt) and the earliest known cultivated cereal (barley).
During the last plenary session “Feeding the world today and tomorrow” Distinguished Prof. D. Julian McClements highlighted the key role of the in vitro digestion in the design of new innovative food products, and Prof. Alejandro Marangoni stressed the need to protect biodiversity as an important issue to be considered when focusing on human health. The last, but not least, Dr Liz Specht spoke about the future of sustainable protein production and the new opportunities for protein alternatives.
The first day concluded with announcing the winners of the EFFoST Student of the Year Awards 2020 sponsored by Cargill.
EFFoST MSc Student of the Year award winners 2020
- 1st prize - Jing Hu for her abstract on Lubrication and rheological properties of lactoferrin microgel particles.
- 2nd Prize - Eric Morelle his abstract on Monitoring and predicting foam with artificial neural networks.
EFFoST PhD Student of the Year Award winners 2020
- 1st Prize - Greta Canelli for her abstract on Enzymatic degradation of Chlorella vulgaris cell wall to enhance protein and lipid bioaccessibility
- 2nd Prize - Felix Schottroff for his abstract on Selective recovery of functional compounds from bacteria using continuous pulsed electric field treatment
- 3rd Prize - Suzanne Naumann for her abstract on Extrusion processing – influence on the physiochemical and functional properties of lupin kernel fibre.
Even though we still have 2 conference days to go, while we were still all together, the EFFoST President, Prof. Olga Martin Belloso thanked this year’s conference host, Assoc. Prof. Uri Lesmes for all his work in organizing this high-quality conference programme. The host of the 35th EFFoST International conference was also announced, we look forward to seeing you all again in Lausanne, Switzerland!
If you were unable to attend the live conference, you are still able to see all this great science on demand for 1 month after the conference. For more information and to register, go to the EFFoST conference website.