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Naturally functional foods that fight disease…environmentally friendly food packaging…new probiotic juices…and natural antimicrobial treatments to keep food fresh for longer?

These are just some of the topics to be discussed when The University of Queensland presents the first of its Future Food Forums for industry on Tuesday 28 September at its St Lucia campus.

UQ science is making what we eat better for us, so food industry representatives are invited to find out what’s new in food technology, what it could mean for food products in the future, and how UQ research can help their business.

Sharing their expertise with the food industry about food trends, new products and new technologies and how companies can access funding schemes to support their R&D projects is an initiative of UQ’s School of Land, Crop and Food Sciences and its main research commercialisation company, UniQuest.

Forum convenor Ranjan Sharma said the program offers a variety of topics that are at the cutting edge of food innovation.

“Industry guests will hear topics ranging from environmentally-friendly food packaging and bio-plastics to using spice and herb extracts to keep foods fresher for longer,” Dr Sharma said.

“We’ll be talking about the ways we are meeting consumers’ increasing demand for fresh, natural, additive-free, full-flavoured, nutritious products with the latest alternatives to heat pasteurisation, like high pressure processing.

“Another presenter will show how UQ scientists analyse food preferences of people of different ages and from different cultures. This service can help food companies to refine their product lines and marketing strategies for new products.”

UniQuest Managing Director Mr David Henderson said connecting industry with science in this way offers positive impacts to the economy, the environment, and public health and well-being.

“The University of Queensland is a premier partner of various Australian and international food industry producers, suppliers and supporters. Industry engagement like this can lead to businesses developing a competitive edge, improving their food products, and contributing to better health outcomes for the community,” Mr Henderson said.

“UQ has the largest university food research program in Australia. UQ’s food researchers have extensive food industry experience and are keen to work with local food companies to ensure the food industry in Queensland and Australia remains viable.

“There are many different ways food companies can interact with UQ, including contributing to research projects or contracting UQ researchers to undertake commercial research or consulting projects. Supporting postgraduate students is another way the food industry can sustain its own development for the future.”

UniQuest Innovation and Commercial Development Manager, Cameron Turner, will provide more information on the different ways food companies can engage with UQ food scientists and benefit from access to the latest innovations.

“Whether you’re looking to invest in new technologies, to commission innovative research, or for advice from consultants, the Future Foods Forum is an excellent opportunity to meet food scientists with the ideas, technology and skills to add value to your business,” said Mr Turner.

“The significant number of registrations we have received already indicates there is a need for this kind of engagement and networking activity. It’s going to be very beneficial for everyone.”

Registrations will be accepted until 24 September via an online form set up by the University’s School of Land, Crop and Food Sciences:  www.uq.edu.au/lcafs/futurefoodsforum.