Food Processing Group

The Food Processing Group provides members interested in matters related to manufacturing, technology, and equipment with an opportunity to engage and share knowledge with others.

The scope of the group includes:

  • Engineering, manufacturing, continuous improvement, equipment (materials and hygienic design), preservation, robotics and artificial intelligence (AI)
  • Knowledge exchange around validation of processes and equipment 
  • Troubleshooting and manufacturing best practice 
  • Future technologies 
  • Education excellence

They will be involved in a wide range of activities, including face-to-face events, webinars, and discussion workshops, to engage IFST members, share ideas and knowledge, and support the food sector. Read their 'Spotlight' article, to find out more about the SIG's most recent activities and future plans.

    Meet the Food Processing Group Committee

    Chair: Mariella Barra

    Vice-Chair: Kavya Krishnamurthy 

    Events: Vacant

    Secretary: Rhian Blake

    Communications: Yemi Francis Odunaya

    Other members of the committee: Simon Burns, Chris Edwards, Teresa Ennis, Jibin He, Christopher Holland, Simon Langley, Peter Sadd, Peter Simpson, Mark Swainson.

    Mariella Barra CSi FIFST has been working in the food industry for over 12 years, for the most part in product and process development roles. She has experience in the chilled, ambient and frozen sectors. She spent four years in Nestlé Italy working on frozen baked products - both new product development and process optimisation, then moved to the UK and spend a period in chilled ready meals product and process development. She then moved to the ambient sector and worked for six years in Premier Foods, progressing to process development manager for Research and Development (R&D). She is passionate about bringing more process expertise in R&D and bridging the disconnect between Operations (OPS) and R&D. Her current interests are new process technologies and thermal process preservation. She is a fellow of IFST and a chartered scientist.

    Chris Edwards FIFST has over 30 years working in the food and dairy sector, Chris Edwards has an in-depth understanding of the challenges facing the food and dairy supply chain from primary production through to retail supply. During his career this cereal/dairy farmer's son has worked as a supermarket manager, product development technologist, an operations manager with Milk Marque, Warehouse Operations Manager, lectured in Food and Dairy Technology, had 5 years with Arla Foods as their Technical Competence Development Manager, 12 months with Tetra Pak UK processing and now works as Head of Quality with Muller Yogurts and Desserts for the past 3 years.

    Teresa Ennis RSci MIFST has been working in for the Food Industry for around 10 years. Whilst Studying for a BSc in Food Science at the University of Reading, she worked her holidays at Griffith Laboratories as a Product Technician learning about seasonings and sauces. For the last 9 years, Teresa has worked for Mondelez International, in the Chocolate Category for Research and Development. Over this time, she has worked in both Product and Process roles on Chocolate Mass Development and has built an in depth knowledge on Chocolate Making.

    Jibin He CSci is a senior lecturer in Food Science and Technology at Teesside University. Before his career at Teesside, Jibin completed a PhD at Rothamsted Research, in cooperation with Oxford Brookes University and Campden BRI, working on wheat grain compositions. Jibin has always collaborated with the food industry since the beginning of his academic career. He enjoys problem-solving and putting theoretical knowledge to practical use. In past projects, he has worked with oil and frying processes/products, retort processes/products, and wheat flour and milling. Currently, Jibin is working on novel oil/fat ingredients and microencapsulation of nutrients.

    Kavya Krishnamurthy is a Food Innovation Technologist at the University of Nottingham’s Food Innovation Centre. Prior to this, she has worked in a variety of roles in the food industry and began her career as a qualified chef and member of the UAE Junior National Culinary Team in Dubai. She later moved back to Bangalore, India to lead product development for her family’s instant packaged foods business ‘Veekes & Company’. Keen to merge her skillset and experiences, she completed her MSc. in Food Science and Innovation from Manchester Metropolitan University. Her area of interest is working with food & drink SMEs to deliver practical solutions and technical/scientific guidance in areas of product development, product and process optimisation, applied sensory, and product applications. 

    Simon Langley MIFST is Process Development Manager at Dalehead Foods (Pilgrim’s Pride Ltd), with extensive cooked meat processing experience within the group. Interests lie in; preservation, thermal processing, and process and recipe improvement. A new and growing interest is the circular versus linear approach, and how these principles can be applied to food manufacturing.

    Craig Leadley FIFST is Head of Strategic Knowledge Development at Campden BRI where, amongst other activities, he has overall responsibility for all R&D projects that are funded through Campden BRI membership subscriptions. Throughout his time at Campden BRI his technical passion has been food preservation, with a focus on emerging technologies for the food industry. He has had a career-long interest in high-pressure food processing for both pasteurisation and sterilisation applications. Craig has also been active in the field of conventional batch thermal processing, having travelled extensively to schedule safe thermal processes globally. Craig has over twenty-five years of practical experience with food manufacturing R&D and consultancy. He has significant experience with developing grant applications and building multi-partner industry/academic collaborations.

    Yemi Francis Odunaya is the founder of Ajeb Investment Limited. since October 2020 with a focus on Tropical Foods Concept and Products to wider consumers and also has experience in education, agriculture and healthcare. Yemi has a bachelor’s degree in Health and Social Care from the University of Sunderland and also a master’s degree in Food Processing Engineering from Teesside University. Yemi is interested in food innovation, development processing, production and sustainable packaging, ensuring low environmental impact.

    Dr Peter Sadd FIFST  is a chartered chemical engineer with 35 years experience of in process development in food manufacturing. He has worked extensively on the formation of process-induced contaminants, the science of bakery products, and process-driven product innovation. His work has led to fifty scientific publications and patents.

    Peter Simpson FIFST is Head of Food Technology at the College of Agriculture Food & Rural Enterprise in Northern Ireland. He is responsible for building the capacity of food businesses to adopt and exploit appropriate technologies through technology transfer. His team works closely with all sectors of the Northern Ireland Food and Drinks Industry - upskilling the workforce and providing technical support in areas such as product innovation, sensory analysis, factory design, quality assurance, process development and packaging. He is based at Loughry Campus which has world-class innovation, pilot food processing and food incubation facilities. My current interest is working on a collaborative project with the Queen’s University Belfast to encourage the adoption of robotics and automation in the local industry.

    Professor Mark Swainson FIFST is Deputy Head of the National Centre for Food Manufacturing where he leads the Higher Education and Research agendas. His food manufacturing sector expertise was developed whilst working in senior technical and operations management roles within the high risk chilled and frozen food industry. As Professor of Industrial Food Technology Mark progresses food industry-based engagement and research to address specific food system needs/challenges.

    Events & Webinars

    Each SIG is run by a small committee of volunteer members, who meet both face-to-face and virtually. As part of the committee, members are actively involved in organising and attending meetings in relation to setting up activities, events and webinars across the year. Open our Events page to attend our upcoming events or access the Webinar Hub to watch previous webinar recordings.

    Upcoming Events  Previous Events
    IFST Community

    Are you interested in food processing, and want to talk to like-minded individuals? Log on to our communication platform for all IFST members, IFST Community. This online space is open for you to interact and communicate freely and easily with other members and engage with our many Networks. Here are some step-by-step instructions to get you started. We’ve also created a simple how-to video.

    Join the Food Processing Community

    IFST Impact Award

    We value the important contribution that volunteers bring to the work and life of the Institute. Without the contribution of the volunteers who serve on committees, branches and special interest groups, we would find it difficult to achieve the strategic priorities set out by the Board of Trustees. The Impact Award is an opportunity for volunteers to showcase an innovative activity that has been undertaken that meets the set criteria.

    Find out more about the previous winners, entry criteria and submissions here.


    Contact us

    Do you want to find out more about our Food Processing Group? Get in touch via

    Spotlight on SIG Members

    We are conducting a series of interviews with SIG Committee Members, asking them about their careers in the food system. 

    Simon Langley