By John Ruff, 2012-13, President, Institute of Food Technologists
On October 16, we once again have a unique opportunity to celebrate the importance of World Food Day.
Since 1945, there has been tremendous progress on feeding the millions of people on our planet. A cornerstone of that success has been food science and technology, which has made it possible for us to feed people for generations ever since. Feeding the World Today and Tomorrow: The Importance of Food Science and Technology, published in Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety, highlighted the importance of food science and technology in this groundbreaking paper. Despite our success, we have plenty of work ahead to meet the needs generated by a population boom that will reach almost 10 billion people by 2050. The paper cites the importance of new technologies-from innovations in processing to sustainable packaging to the promise of nanotechnology-to meet the food needs.
Food science and technology will be the solution to future challenges. But we also have to be good educators and help everyone learn from history to ensure that people understand how far we have come. We simply cannot turn back the hands of time. To illustrate how much food science and technology have touched their lives, IFT has launched the World Without Food Science campaign. This video campaign includes a provocative public service announcement that shows what happens in a grocery store when there is no food science. Expert interview segments focus on how food science makes it possible to make food globally available and also how the profession makes it safe for consumers. A new segment, being unveiled on October 16th, features Mary Wagner, Past President, IFT, discussing how food science and food processing make it possible to provide sustainable solutions throughout the food system. These videos are located at www.worldwithoutfoodscience.org.
Showing the practical applications of food science is important. That's why IFT's communications team developed IFT Food Facts (www.iftfoodfacts.org), which offers the media and the public real-life, practical tips that can be used in the home or on-the-go.
On World Food Day, we are helping IFT members take the first step to "go digital" through social media. Sharing resources may be the best solution to becoming an advocate, and it will go a long way toward opening the dialogue to drive viral discussions-in blogs, through Twitter, during media interviews, or in face-to-face meetings and presentations.
Most of all, World Food Day generates an opportunity to offer a science-based perspective on how we can meet the challenges of hunger head-on to help all those without access to safe, nutritious food-now and in the future.