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.

It has a broad scope, covering all areas related to engineering, manufacturing, continuous improvement as well as equipment (materials and hygienic design). It also considers topics such as preservation, robotic and artificial intelligence (AI), and will contribute to relevant publications.

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.

Chair: Vacant

Vice-Chair: Vacant

Events: Debra Smith

Secretary: Mariella Barra

Communications: Yemi Francis Odunaya

Other members of the committee: Chris Edwards, Claire Goring, Teresa Ennis, Jibin He, Caron Lacey, Simon Langley, Craig Leadley, Peter Sadd, Peter Simpson, Mark Swainson.

Mariella Barra CSi MIFST 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 product - 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 is currently process development manager in Premier Foods - her current interests are new process technologies and thermal process preservation. She is a member of IFST and IFTPS 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.


Claire Goring MIFST currently works as Supply Chain and Technical Consultancy Manager providing consulting and project management support across the NSF client base as well as developing the business further. Claire has a wealth of experience working for both food manufacturers and a large blue-chip retailer (Walgreen Boots Alliance) in Technical Management, audit and systems/process improvement which has been gained over the last 19 years. She has worked with all of the major retailers as a supplier and has a good working knowledge of the standards required for both retailers and third-party certification. As part of working in food manufacturing, Claire gained experience in product and process development, as well as factory operations by working closely with her peers in those areas.


Teresa Ennis RSci MIFST


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 food industries since the beginning of my academic career. He enjoys problem-solving and putting theoretical knowledge to practical use. He has worked with oil and frying process/products, retort process/products, and wheat flour and milling in past projects. Currently, Jibin is working on novel oil/fat ingredients and microencapsulation of nutrients.


Caron Lacey MIFST


Simon Langley MIFST is currently 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 in 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 lead 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.


Debra Smith FIFST has >35 years of food safety/research training and experience and has previously worked for DEFRA (Food Safety Division) and Campden BRI (Food Hygiene Research Manager). Deb is a qualified Microbiologist, Food Scientist, and FSSC 22000 Lead Auditor. Deb is a Fellow of the IFST and regularly presents her work at National and International food safety events. She is an active Committee Member of EHEDG, currently Chair of the Campden BRI Micro MIG, and sits on the Service Provision Technical Working Group of GFSI. At Vikan Deb provides food safety advice and training to the food 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.

Upcoming events


Coming soon    


View all IFST events

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 following criteria.

  1. Is new and has been undertaken in the last 12 months which delivers measurable impact to any/any/all IFSTs strategic priorities, or
  2. Is an existing activity that has undergone an adaptation or change in order to deliver an enhanced impact linked to any/all of IFSTs strategic priorities, and which 
  3. Is scalable and sustainable. 

Previous winners:

2021 IFST South Eastern Branch and President’s Special Award to COVID-19 Advisory Group

2020 IFST Northern Ireland Branch and Eastern Branch 

2019 IFST Student Group

2018 IFST Student Group

2017 IFST Sensory Science Group

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

Get in touch

Our Special Interest Groups (SIGs) are each run by a small committee of volunteer members, who meet both face-to-face and virtually. Members of a group are actively involved in organising and attending meetings in relation to setting up activities, events etc., as part of a committee. The groups are supported by the IFST central team, including the Scientific Affairs Manager, and provide excellent networking opportunities and support to group members.

If you would like to get involved as a member of our Food Processing Group committee, please contact us.

IFST Community

Log on to our communication platform for all IFST members, IFST CommunityThis online space is open for you to make contact and communicate freely and easily with other members and to 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.

Food Processing Community Network