by Louis Ayotte
On behalf of the Canadian Institute of Food Science and Technology (CIFST), it is my privilege to be able to contribute this editorial to Canadian Food Business magazine, in a partnership with its publisher that was months in the making. We wanted to partner with a quality publication that would give us a platform to promote the food science and technology perspective, and give a voice to the professionals employed by the sector.
The food and beverage sector is no different from other industries that have struggled under the weight of COVID-19 over the past two years. This has been a challenging time for our members, who have suffered through lockdowns, closures, layoffs, and supply chain issues. In food science academic institutions across Canada, many of our faculty and student members had their classes moved to online learning, adding to the daily stress of balancing work, home, and family.
As a long-standing association, CIFST didn’t come through the pandemic unscathed. With many of our in-person events, including our annual conference, cancelled, we had to innovate and bring value to our members with online events. At the local level, our chapters, which rely on in-person events to connect with members in their local community, had to cancel all in-person events such as supplier nights, technical seminars, and social events.
In 2021, CIFST celebrated its 70th anniversary virtually. We did our best to carry on with the celebrations with a creative, engaging, and fun campaign. But that was the past; let’s talk about the future. Despite the obstacles, the goals of CIFST are:
provide a professional network for the exchange of scientific, educational, and business ideas, information, and knowledge;
be a respected voice on scientific and policy issues of interest to the food and beverage sector;
promote the professional development and careers of CIFST members; and
increase awareness of opportunities and careers in the food and beverage sector.
To attain these goals in 2022, we are launching several in-person and virtual events at both the national and local levels.
We are excited to meet in person on a national level for the first time in more than two years at the Canadian Food Summit June 1-3 at the University of Guelph, with the theme “Propelling Research and Innovation.” The conference is an opportunity for exchanging ideas, professional development, networking, and seeing the hottest new products.
On a local level, the first in-person meeting since 2019 will be the Quebec Section suppliers night, which will be held May 12 at Espace Saint-Hyacinthe. I would ask that you visit the various CIFST section calanders to get further details of their program.
We have launched a new education series called “Knowledge Bites” which are biweekly webinars that offer professional development by speakers in academia and industry.
“CIFST *ALT, An Innovation Showcase” was launched in 2020 as a virtual event; it was so well-received we will be presenting it as an in-person event in September.
One of the things that we are very excited about is our new relationship with Canadian Food Business magazine. This newly forged relationship allows our members and stakeholders to have their voices heard.
In this issue, you will find the contributions by CIFST Director Dana McCauley, Chief Experience Officer at the Canadian Food Innovation Network (CFIN), on the topic of trends in food traceability; and, in the summer issue, Dr. Lawrence Goodridge, Director, Canadian Research Institute for Food Safety at the University of Guelph, will offer his insights on tracking pathogens in food.
In partnership with the magazine, we have put together an Advisory Committee made up of CIFST volunteers working in food science and academia from across the country. It is my great pleasure to introduce the committee:
Dr. Marcia English, Associate Professor, St. Francis Xavier University, Department of Human Nutrition
Dr. Michael Nickerson, Saskatchewan Research Chair and Professor, University of Saskatchewan
Dr. Amanda Wright, Associate Professor, University of Guelph
Dr. Hosahalli Ramaswamy, Professor, McGill University
The purpose of the Advisory Committee is to work with the editorial team to help identify food science experts in the field and provide feedback and insights on the magazine’s content. Three of the committee members were recruited from the CIFST Scientific Advisory panel, which has expertise in food chemistry, food processing, food engineering, and food nanotechnology. The fourth member is on our Board of Directors.
Looking into the future, we look forward to a growing partnership and future relationship with Canadian Food Business magazine. We hope that you will come along and support this initiative.