IFST Eastern Branch

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The Eastern counties of England have for many years provided students and graduates of food science with the possibility to continue their education at one of many esteemed centres of learning or take employment with and develop their careers furthering the success of food production businesses right across the region.

A handful of individuals have already expressed interest in trying to establish a vibrant network for the support and guidance of any member, in education or industry, across the Region by getting the Eastern Branch up and running again. If you would also like to help, even by just suggesting ideas for ways in which the Eastern Branch could be useful to you in your current role, then please contact Erin Taylor (email E.Taylor@ifst.org ).

To see the most up to date Eastern branch activity visit our Twitter feed #ifsteasternbranch.

Meet the Committee

Here's your opportunity to find out more about the members involved in the Eastern Branch Committee

Steve Timms - Chair of IFST Eastern BranchSteve Timms (Chair)

I have my roots in East Anglia. I was educated here, spent the early years of my career in the region and now am back living in the region with a passion to re-launch the Eastern Branch. I was inspired by the IFST almost 40 years ago to take the right ‘O’ levels that would start me on the road to my food career, the IFST has supported me throughout the intervening years and now I feel it is time to give something back. I am a trained food chemist, I have worked in research and industry and currently serve on the IFST’s Education and Careers Committee, helping to enthuse youngsters to follow a career path centred around food whether it be technical, manufacturing, research, regulatory or in academia. I believe I bring to the committee a vision of a vibrant, diverse, well networked Branch that I will work tirelessly and diligently to make reality to support all those in the region who turn to IFST for guidance in their career choices, in the various stages of their professional development and in retirement those who would also like to give something back to the next generation of food professionals.

Carol RaithathaCarol Raithatha

I’m a consultant and director of Carol Raithatha Limited (www.carolraithatha.co.uk). The focus of my work is food and drink research that helps companies, research agencies and other organisations gain insight into products, consumers and markets. My specialist expertise includes sensory evaluation, consumer testing, market research, business to business research, and desk research. Having been involved with the IFST for many years, mostly with respect to the Sensory Science Group committee, it is nice to help get things going near to where I live.

The Eastern region is diverse and vibrant with lots of things happening in food, science, and education, so a great place for the IFST to promote itself and work with members. Being based in Norwich for almost twenty-five years, I hope to be able to bring local knowledge and some helpful ideas to the Eastern region committee, and am also looking forwards to meeting local food professionals and discovering more about what my region is up to!


Belinda ashongI pursued my first degree in Agricultural Science but it was during my final year dissertation practical sessions that I developed the passion for food science. My dissertation was about using solar dried cassava flour as a filler in frankfurter type sausage. I was intrigued by the whole experience, from sourcing raw materials, production to the organisation of sensory evaluation of the sausages. I followed it up with a master’s degree in Food Science at the University of Reading.

 I heard of IFST while in Reading but relocated to East Anglia shortly after finishing University. I looked into volunteering and came across the Eastern Region Branch of IFST and decided to get involved. IFST has provided me with up to date information on new techniques, technology, legislation and insight into the industry through the quarterly journal. There is also a lot of resource persons and mentors in the organisation. The technical visits has been educative and I feel now is time to share my experiences hence the volunteering.

I hope to use my knowledge and organisational skills in assisting young graduates in achieving their career ambitions in the food industry.


Robert Bowman, Conan Fryer, Siobhan Gardiner, Tom Hollands, Debra Smith, Andy Bowles, Julian Cooper & Robert Winwood.

Upcoming Events in the Region


What is ecotrophelia ?

According to the website of The Belgian Food & Drink Association Fevia.be : “The Ecotrophelia competition challenges students from higher education pursuing a career in the [European] food industry to design an eco-friendly innovative food or beverage product with strong commercial potential.”

Deadline for registration is usually in November with the deadline for submission of dossiers during the following February.  Judging then takes place locally in each country with the UK national final normally held in a Dragons Den style competition in June and the winning UK team goes forward to represent the UK at the European final taking place in October. The competition is organised jointly by the Institute of Food Science & Technology and Campden BRI.

The competition is open to teams of students registered at a university or other establishment of scientific/technical higher education.  Ideally teams should be made up of between 4 and 6 students, but may have a minimum of 2 and a maximum of 10.  Only students who are 35 years or under on the day of the UK competition are eligible.  Teams across the UK pitch their products to industry leaders for a cash prize and the chance to represent the UK at the European Final. Interested in taking part? 

How to enter Ecotrophelia UK 2018

Have you recently graduated?

We recognise that a number of our members once graduated will move around the country on graduate placement schemes or re-locate for other various reasons.   We've been working with a group of IFST members in their first three years after graduation to find out how we can help our members and their early career development.

Our Committee member Belinda Ashong is kindly leading this initiative for our region.   If you are interested in getting more involved, please get in touch.  Please note: IFST members only.

News and Comment

This section will be regularly updated with news, interviews and comments from those in the Eastern Region. For more news about Food Science and Technology and our members in the East of England see our Twitter feed #ifsteasternbranch


We are pleased to announce that Siobhan Gardiner, an IFST Young Ambassador and a Committee Member on the Eastern Branch, was awarded Women in Innovation 2016 Award.

Siobhan, who is currently completing her PhD in Agriculture at Cranfield University, has a great interest in food security. Through her robotic start-up, HEROTECH8, she aims to address the wider barriers to deployment of drones and precision technology in the humanitarian and agricultural sectors of developing nations. She wants to bring drone technology to places and people that would not have the resources, energy infrastructure or technical know-how to reliably and safely operate drone systems.

Siobhan has also been appointed as the Vice President of The British Federation of Women Graduates - see more detail here.

Get involved

If you would like more information about how to get involved with your local Branch, please contact Carol Raithatha.