Partner Spotlight: Institute of Food Technologies
- What is the Institute of Food Technologists working on now and what’s on the horizon?
The Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) is currently focused on our annual event, which will be held virtually from July 13 – 15 and explore the impact our global food supply has on the environment. We are offering more than 100 scientific and applied sessions, 600 research presentations, and numerous future-looking sessions. In parallel, we are engaged with our community around COVID-19 to better understand its implications on the future of food. IFT, in conjunction with WWF, recently released Standards and Guidelines for Interoperable Seafood Traceability Systems, known as GDST 1.0. These standards are critical to fight illegal fishing and unethical labor practices. We see traceability playing an increasingly important role across the supply chain, and so these standards have the potential to influence various use cases, including bridging the divide between software and food science.
- What has been the most fruitful collaboration between the Institute of Food Technologists and FFAR?
We are most excited for the opportunity to collaborate with FFAR in various arenas, including funding for food science, food security, food waste and loss, and the digitization of supply chains. As an independent, nonprofit scientific organization committed to ensuring a safe, sustainable, and nutritious food supply, IFT convenes professionals in food science and technology and related disciplines. IFT recently published a white paper that highlights funding disparities in food science, concluding food research in the U.S. is publicly underfunded with several calls to action. This presents a unique opportunity to combine with FFAR and their expertise in agriculture and funding to enhance and strengthen the future of food.
- What challenges would you be excited to see FFAR tackle in the future?
Looking ahead, we would be excited for FFAR to foster greater collaboration across the intersections of agriculture and food. FFAR, through public-private partnerships, can strengthen critical areas of common interest, as vividly exposed by the current COVID-19 crisis, such as making supply chains more agile and robust or making nutritious foods more available to consumers.
Dr. Maria Velissariou is the Chief Science and Technology Officer at the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT). Prior to joining IFT, Maria had a 25-year global corporate career, including roles at PepsiCo, Kraft Foods, and Dow Corning Europe. Maria holds a Ph.D. and Masters in Biochemical Engineering from the University of Birmingham (UK) and a B.Eng. in Chemical Engineering from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (Greece).