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2020 Convention - Day 2

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  • 2020 Convention - Day 2


Sharon Natoli

Food and Nutrition Australia 

Topic: Nourishing the Future - How to create a sustainable health & nutrition strategy that inspires a better tomorrow


Sharon is the Founding Director of Food & Nutrition Australia (est. 1997), and host of The Virtual Lunch Room, a weekly forum sharing stories of change across the food sector. 

Presentation Overview

Today, business performance in the food sector is inextricably linked to commitments and actions that demonstrate organisational consciousness around health and nutrition.  As consumer expectations about the role food companies play in improving personal, organisational and planetary health continue to grow, connecting health and nutrition strategy to the core of business functioning is increasingly critical for long term success.  This presentation will outline key considerations for organisations looking to develop a health and nutrition strategy today, that creates a platform for strong and sustainable future business performance. 

Joanna Derry

Head of Insights and Corporate Brand, Nestle 

Topic: A sustainable business is more than just a green filter 


Joanna Derry is a global brand and marketing insights strategist who loves working with similarly passionate professionals to grow and develop consumer-centric businesses.  She is passionate about understanding cultural impact within people’s behaviours and motivations and how it plays out in the marketing sphere.  She has led insights projects in more than 50 countries across the globe having lived and worked in a few as well.

Joanna doesn’t believe the consumer comes first, she believes that true consumer insight will unlock the future for your brand, if only you know where to seek it out. 

Joanna currently works for Nestlé Oceania as Head of Consumer Insights & Corporate Brand, where she has a leadership role across the organisation to drive consumer and shopper centricity for business growth as well as managing the Nestlé corporate brand and its programs.  She has also held roles at Procter & Gamble and a European online marketplace.

Joanna is an award-winning industry presenter who loves to champion consumer-centricity in various forums when she is not travelling in her spare time immersing herself in the many cultures of the world.  She believes in never doing the same thing twice and is in a constant internal battle between her analytical brain and her creative brain.  She loves nothing more than a good laugh and believes that although we should take our work seriously, we should never take ourselves too seriously!

Presentation Overview 

Presentation Overview coming soon. 

Denise Hamblin

Head of Sensory, Kantar

Topic: Opportunities in the “new normal”: Consumer attitudes and behaviour post COVID-19


About coming soon

Presentation Overview

The recent COVID Crisis has resulted in many changes for consumers, none-the-least in relation to shopping behaviour, products consumed and what we want to hear from brands. Armed with Global Barometer data from 90+ countries and a uniquely Australian context, this presentation will focus on the changes we have seen over the last three months, behaviours anticipated to be enduring and the myriad of opportunities for products, brands and companies alike.

Dr. Pia Winberg

CEO & Chief Scientist - Venus Shell Systems Pty. Ltd. CEO – PhycoHealth Pty. Ltd. Honorary Fellow – School of Medicine, University of Wollongong

Topic: Australian Seaweeds - a promising health food for diet diversification


Pia has worked across sustainable marine industry development and academia for the past 20 years. Her focus has gone from research to applied technology development in integrating marine food production systems with the environment, to deliver potent nutritional benefits to society. Her research was founded in the 1990s in integrated tropical aquaculture systems and marine systems ecology, and now Pia is focused on applying this knowledge to sustainable marine food production systems. Pia believes that nutrition and food is a key opportunity for a transition to a more sustainable future, and the oceans and especially seaweeds are a platform that can deliver on that if approached wisely.

In this way, Pia has undertaken over a decade of research of seaweed species in Australia and explored diverse production methods, as well as undertaken human clinical trials on seaweed for metabolic health. Pia has embarked on the development of a seaweed industry for Australia, and founded Venus Shell Systems for the production of seaweed, and PhycoHealth for the development and delivery of seaweed products to the market. Both companies are developing on the south coast of NSW.

Presentation Overview

Seaweed is the biggest aquaculture crop globally and has a value of close to $12B. Integrating seaweed and marine systems ecology into industrial processes is an opportunity for sustainability and nutritional outcomes that are aligned with the United Nations Sustainability Development Goals. Added to our mainstream food chain, seaweed could contribute significantly to reducing malnutrition in impoverished countries through the fortification of food with micronutrients such as iron, as well as diseases related to chronic gaps in the western diet, including inflammatory diseases and obesity which now rival starvation. I will present the case for the rediscovery of marine seaweed inclusion in human diets and the contribution to our health as a basic food intake for everyone… every day.

Dr Anneline Padayachee

The Food & Nutrition Doctor

Topic: Health & Wellness trends - what the future holds


With a PhD focusing on the effect of processing technology on nutrition, and over 15 years work experience in all sectors of the food industry from red meat and infant formula to tertiary degree design and coordination, Dr. Anneline Padayachee is a highly sought after food and nutrition expert in the food industry and media for a her simple communication style. Based in Brisbane, The University of Melbourne Associate Academic,is also the nutritional expert consultant with the Anytime Fitness group of fitness centres and quite often frequents the media.  

Presentation Overview 

In an era of instant everything, robotic vacuum cleaners and apps that remind you to sleep, the dairy sector has remained relatively unchanged since the invention of pasteurisation in the 1800s. One of the world's oldest food products, well entrenched in the Australian society and culture, is facing cross-roads on where to next for dairy with the rise in plant based milks, growing demand for brand Australia and consumers who want more out of everything. So what is the future of milk? 

Dr Emma Beckett

University of Newcastle

Title: Don’t go chasing waterfalls – short term claims vs long term gains in gut health


Dr Emma Beckett, RNutr, is a lecturer in food science and human nutrition at the University of Newcastle. She specialized in gene-nutrient-environment interactions,  gut health and science communication. A sought after media expert she has appeared in print, online, on the radio and on television for a variety of media outlets. She also has a large social media following. Her media and social media focuses on empowering consumers to make more informed food choices.  

Presentation overview:

Gut health is on trend with consumers, with many willing to pay a premium for products they perceive to have gut health benefits. However, the evidence base behind many of these claims are weak, and will likely be uncovered by consumers as misleading in the future. This presentation will explore the evidence and the perceptions of gut health claims.

Kathy Usic

CEO, Glycemic Index Foundation 

Topic: Carbs Revisited – why Glycemic Index is driving the new carbohydrate evolution post COVID 


Kathy Usic is an accomplished health professional and commercially minded business leader with over 35 years of extensive experience in FMCG - Fast-Moving Consumer Goods and health promotion / not for profit sectors. Kathy is the CEO of the Glycemic Index Foundation (GIF), a not-for-profit organisation owned by the University of Sydney and the Diabetes NSW ACT (Australia). GIF is committed to promoting and contributing to the prevention and management of overweight/obesity, diabetes and other chronic lifestyle-related conditions, through healthy low-GI diets. GIF administers the Low GI Symbol, a world first front of pack Low GI certification labelling program.

Kathy works with global regulatory and health promotion agencies as well as the NGO (non-government) sectors to facilitate the legislation of Glycemic Index labelling, drawing on the success of the joint Australian and New Zealand labelling standards.

Prior to joining the Foundation, Kathy spent 15 years in senior leadership roles within the FMCG sector notably developing health and wellness strategies and product innovation programs meeting internal and external nutrition guidelines and product benchmarks. Kathy was also Executive Officer of the NSW School Canteen Association and responsible for establishing the first national product endorsement program for food supply to the school canteen sector, the largest volunteer organisation in Australia.

Kathy’s passion is in the not for profit sector to drive initiatives offering evidence-based products and services which consumers can trust to improve their health and wellbeing.

Presentation Overview

Amid the global spread of COVID-19 we have witnessed an increased focus on gathering food and supplies.  This has been evident with the panic buying and stockpiling of staple carb foods such as rice and pasta and the enthusiasm of people home-baking sourdough bread.  With the psychology of comfort foods we often look at carbs for solace.  However, if comfort eating becomes a habit, it often comes with health costs, such as weight gain.  This ‘COVID-loving carb phenomena’ has resulted in an increasing focus on quality carbohydrates and the role of Glycemic Index (GI) providing food manufacturers an opportunity to tap into consumer sentiment of comfort carbs with a better health benefit.

Professor Jennie Brand-Miller

University of Sydney 

Topic: Carbs Revisited – why Glycemic Index is driving the new carbohydrate evolution post COVID 


Jennie Brand-Miller (AM, FAA, FAIFST, FNSA, PhD) is Professor of Human Nutrition at the University of Sydney. She and her team are recognised for their research on carbohydrates, particularly the glycemic index (or GI) of foods. Together with Fiona Atkinson and Kaye Foster-Powell, she published the International Tables of Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load, one of the most widely cited publications in nutrition science. Professor Brand-Miller is a past-President of the Nutrition Society of Australia, a past Chair of the National Committee for Nutrition of the Australian Academy of Science, and President of the Glycemic Index Foundation Ltd, a not-for-profit health promotion charity that administers a food symbol program for consumers.  

Dr Joanna McMillan

Topic: Nutrition for Immunity, Brain Health & Performance


Joanna McMillan is a Scottish-born Australian and one of the country’s favourite and most trusted health and nutrition experts. She is a PhD qualified nutrition scientist, Accredited Practising Dietitian, Adjunct Senior Research Fellow with La Trobe University, guest lecturer for Avondale University and Fellow of the Australasian Society of Lifestyle Medicine.

Presentation overview:

An overview of how what you eat impacts the immune system, the functioning of the brain and how the microbiome is involved in both. A discussion of the key nutritional factors that impact these systems and what dietary and lifestyle factors impact brain performance today and brain health long term.

Mike Gidley

Director, Centre of Nutrition and Food Sciences at University of Queensland 

Topic: Nutritional aspects and value proposition for native wattle seeds


Professor Mike Gidley is Director of the Centre for Nutrition and Food Sciences (CNAFS) in the Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation at The University of Queensland. Research themes within CNAFS include ‘Smart Selections’ (how to identify the right combinations of raw materials and processing to deliver consumer-preferred foods), ‘Naturally Nutritious’ (maximising the intrinsic nutritional properties of agricultural products in foods and ingredients) and ‘Uniquely Australian’ (identifying and validating opportunities for elite products from foods and ingredients that can only have come from Australia).

Presentation Overview:

There are nearly 1000 species of wattle (acacia) in Australia and a long history of use by Aboriginal people of the seeds from about 40 species in foods. A few of these species have subsequently been commercialised at a small scale over the years, but there is significant further potential for food and extract development. Wattle seeds are in the legume family and share many of the nutritional attributes of peas and beans, with positive features such as high protein, fibre and mineral contents, but also a tendency to contain anti-nutritive factors. The opportunity exists for a range of nutritionally-superior foods and ingredients to be derived from responsible development of this native Australian resource.

Peter Cunningham

Wattle seeds Australia 

Topic: Wattle seeds: “Australia’s vast untapped golden resource”


Peter grew up on a horticultural property (Citrus, Vines) in Sunraysia, NW Victoria and completed a B. Agri. Sci. (1983) and M. Agri.  Sci. (1989) at Melbourne Uni.  He then worked as a Research Agronomist and Plant Breeder at the DPI, Hamilton (1983-96).  Following Theological studies (1997-99), Peter & his wife Sally worked in Rural Development amongst the Indigenous Hausa and Fulani people with Simaid an NGO in Niger Republic, West Africa (2000-2010).  Since 2010, Peter has been based at Tarrington, SW Vict and worked as a Project advisor/Consultant for Simaid and World Vision in Aus., Niger, Ghana, Senegal and Ethiopia.  More recently he has specialised in Native food (esp. Wattle seed) production/consultancy and established “Wattle Seeds Australia” in 2018. This is a unique and specialised service for Communities and farmers to inform, support and develop Commercial wattle seed production enterprises.  There are now over 18 projects in Southern Australia.

Presentation Overview

The diversity, importance and benefits of Wattles will be outlined with an emphasis on seed production by Indigenous communities.  A brief overview of some case studies in Africa will show the value of multi-purpose wattles to enhanced livelihoods.  Then some important projects and activities to grow the emerging Australian wattle seed industry will be shared.  There is a place for Wild harvest, but any scale will need the development of both Horticultural and Agroforestry Wattle seed production systems in Australia. Results from pilot trials show that this vast untapped Golden resource has great potential for multi-benefits -nutritious food, environmental restoration, adaptation to climate change and embraces Indigenous knowledge and culture.

Sarah Hickey

Karen Sheldon Catering

Topic: The social impact of supporting sustainable business models for native foods.


Sarah Hickey is a proud Territorian and business owner of the award-winning Karen Sheldon Group.  As a young person growing up in Tennant Creek, Sarah first became interested in Aboriginal culture and bush foods, introduced to them by local Indigenous women. 

Sarah is also Director of not for profit, Saltbush Social Enterprises. Both Karen Sheldon Group and Saltbush are focused on creating prosperity parity opportunities for First Australians in the NT through employment services, training, youth services and counselling.

Presentation Overview:

Positive social impact in the supply of food requires finding ways to share more of the reward with the people growing, harvesting, making, selling, and consuming our food.

The Vision Statement of Karen Sheldon Group is that “a person with a job is a person with a future”. Our social impact is best told through human stories of the lives of First Australians we touch through our use of their traditional bush foods as they travel through supply from sustainable wild harvest on country to our training rooms and commercial kitchens and back to Northern Territory communities where they are consumed.   

Rus Glover

Australian Native Foods and Botanicals

Title: Industry perspective, markets and overseas demand/appetite for wattle seeds and wattleseed products


Rus Glover has been a director of the Australian Native Foods and Botanicals (ANFAB) peak industry body since 2007, bringing experience in agriculture, horticulture and research. He is currently the Deputy Chair and research director.

Rus has a background in coastal and estuarine ecology as well as horticulture and has produced several coastal and estuarine plant guides to identification, propagation and rehabilitation of coastal ecosystems.

Presentation Overview:

Overview of the role of Australian Native Foods and Botanicals - peak industry body for native foods in Australia.

  • Vision - The native foods and botanicals sector will be a globally successful national industry that is culturally inclusive, sustainable, ethical, agile and profitable.
  • Industry perspective and current issues

Market issues for both domestic use and export for all species including Wattleseed.

  • Food Safety - listing of species on FSANZ
  • Export issues

Susan Bell

Susan Bell Research 

Title: The growth of vegetarianism in Australia:  insights from sensemaking research


Sue Bell is a Sydney-based qualitative researcher. She runs the boutique micro agency Susan Bell Research. She is skilled and experienced in all forms of qualitative research including one on one interviews, online focus groups and communities, face to face focus groups, ethnography, semiotics, discourse analysis and has explored social media analysis and text analytics. , She has taught courses in qualitative research, discourse analysis and semiotics for The Research Society.

Sue is a Fellow of The Research Society.  She has an Honours degree in English & Linguistics, a Graduate Diploma in Psychology, a Marketing Diploma, and Certificates in Advanced Semiotics, and in Plain Language and is currently studying anthropology.

Presentation Overview:

Two and a half million people - 12.1% of the Australian population   - now say they are eating all or almost all a vegetarian diet. In 2018 it was 11.2%.  At the same time, there has been huge growth in the marketing of plant-based foods some of which emulate meat. The CSIRO anticipates that the plant-based meat industry in Australia will be worth more than A$6 billion by 2030.  In this presentation, Sue Bell will put these statistics into human terms drawing on the results of her pilot qualitative research project talking to people with one of the many forms of vegetarian diet from vegans, to pescatarians, flexitarians and meat eaters who want to eat more sustainably.

Professor Kerry Wilkinson 

University of Adelaide 

Topic: Australian Consumers' Awareness and Acceptance of Insects as Food


Kerry Wilkinson is a Professor of Oenology in the School of Agriculture, Food and Wine at the University of Adelaide – a role which enables her to combine her passion for both wine education and wine research. She leads a productive wine science research group and her primary research interests concern the flavour chemistry of grapes and wine: from management of ‘green’ characters in the vineyard and improved methods of oak maturation in the winery, to consumer preferences for different styles of sparkling wine, and the impact of bushfire smoke on grapes and wine.

She also dabbles outside of wine science, applying her expertise in analytical chemistry and sensory science to food related projects – most recently, this has been to pursue an interest in consumer acceptance of insects as food. 

Presentation Overview

Insects have long been consumed as part of the diets of many Asian, African and South American cultures. In Australia, despite witchetty grubs, honey ants and Bogong moths being quite well known, the consumption of insects tends to occur only as a novelty. This presentation will outline: some of the nutritional and environmental justifications for incorporating insects into Western diets; Australian consumers’ awareness of insects as food; and the factors that are most likely to influence consumer willingness to eat insects. 

Damian Espinase Nandorfy

Scientist at The Australian Wine Research Institute 

Topic: Adaption of sensory research methods to support research sustainability.


Sensory Scientist Damian Espinase Nandorfy is part of the Sensory and Flavour Research group at the Australian Wine Research Institute in Adelaide, South Australia. Damian has over ten years’ experience selling, making, researching, and enjoying wine! Originally from Canada, Damian holds an honours science degree in Viticulture & Oenology from Brock University, a post-graduate certificate in Sensory & Consumer Science from UC Davis and is currently undertaking a PhD at Deakin University on understanding the perceptual interactions of wine flavour compounds. 

Presentation Overview

In the wine industry, economic downturns can trigger ‘downsizing’ and have in the past led to in-house sensory teams being disbanded. In uncertain economic periods, how can sensory science become a sustainable and valuable part of any organisation? The sensory group at the Australian Wine Research Institute has become an invaluable feature of the organisation by taking a proactive role in study planning, offering tailored traditional and rapid methods to meet objectives, providing careful interpretation and communicating practical conclusions. This brief overview will provide examples of rapid methods and other practices to aid in making sensory science sustainable and valued in any industry. 

Inga Baselier

Consumer Scientist, Bega Cheese Limited

Topic: Value of engagement in supporting sensory and consumer research 


Inga Baselier is a Consumer Scientist at Bega Cheese Ltd. working to ensure that consumer needs are translated into tangible wining products. Having transitioned from a career in academia to the food industry, Inga understands the necessity and challenges of leveraging the latest sensory research and innovation to develop and implement best practice consumer centric designs within a rapidly evolving commercial environment.  She has a passion for travel and food culture, with a typical overseas holiday generally involving an exploratory trip to the local supermarket to peruse the different products.    Inga has studied at both Wageningen University in the Netherlands and Deakin University (Australia) and holds a bachelor’s degree with honours in Food Science & Nutrition. 

Presentation Overview 

Sensory and consumer science is generally acknowledged as an integral component of the product development and maintenance process. Its primary objective, to ensure that manufactured products meet the expectation of the targeted consumer. Despite this, the function can be overlooked due to a variety of factors including a lack of business engagement or understanding.  

So how can sensory and consumer science be sustained and promoted within today’s fast-paced commercial environment?   

In this presentation, Inga Baselier focuses on how the Bega Cheese Ltd. Consumer Science team are striving to address this topic within a growing food manufacturing business. 

Benu Adhikari

RMIT University

Title: Complexation between proteins and polyphenols and their application in encapsulating unstable (omega-3) oils


Professor of Food Engineering and Food Materials Science at Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) University, Melbourne, Australia. He obtained his PhD in Chemical Engineering from the University of Queensland (UQ) in 2003. He obtained his master degree (food engineering) from Asian Institute of Technology (1997), Thailand. His bachelor degree was in food engineering from Wuxi Institute of Light Industry (renamed: Jiangnan University, China (1991). He taught food engineering/food technology in various institutes and universities including Tribhuvan University (Nepal), Ngee Ann Polytechnic (Singapore) and the Federation University (Australia).

His research interests are broad and cover food engineering, food materials science, food powders, food packaging, structure-function of foods, plant proteins, polyphenols and food emulsions.

Presentation Overview:

High-value food compounds such as omega-3 fatty acids, squalene, astaxanthin and carotenoids are prone to oxidative degradation and require protection during processing and storage. Microencapsulation is the best way to increase their shelf life and incorporate them in various food products. Microencapsulation of above compounds is carried out in industry using gelatin-gum Arabic complex coacervates and whey protein-maltodextrin matrices. Here in I present my team’s recent work in which we have first covalently adducted polyphenol (flaxseed polyphenol and hydroxytyrols) with protein (flaxseed protein) and further coacervaved this phenolic compound-adducted flaxseed protein with gum (flaxseed gum). We then microencapsulated omega-3 oil (flaxseed oil) in these complex coacervates. We report that, as encapsulating shell materials, the complex coacervates produced using phenolic compound-adducted plant protein and gum are better and healthier alternatives.

Cordelia Selomulya

School of Chemical Engineering, UNSW  

Topic: Update on spray drying processes for innovative health applications


Prof Cordelia Selomulya joined UNSW in December 2019 as a Professor (Food & Health) in the School of Chemical Engineering and as a Research & Commercialisation Director of the Future Food Systems CRC ( Prior to joining UNSW, she was an ARC Future Fellow at Monash University, leading the Biotechnology and Food Engineering group with an internationally recognised reputation in particle engineering and drying technology research, particularly for food and dairy applications. She is the director of the Australia-China Joint Research Centre for Future Dairy Manufacturing, a joint strategic initiative funded by the Australian and Chinese governments, and industry partners in both countries, including Bega, Saputo Dairy Australia, Fonterra, Gardiner Foundation, COFCO, and Mengniu Dairy ( She was also the director of Graduate Research Industry Partnership (GRIP) for the Food and Dairy industry at Monash University (  

Presentation Overview

The talk will provide an overview of the microfluidic drying approach to generate uniform microparticles with tightly controlled characteristics and sizes in a scalable, almost waste-free process, for encapsulation and targeted release. The ability to produce highly uniform particles has contributed to the understanding of how particles with different microstructures are formed, and how physicochemical properties are related to their functionality. Examples include microencapsulation using pre-treated whey proteins to improve oil encapsulation, or to adjust their release characteristics during digestionThe strategy is useful for designing spray-dried particles of targeted properties for functional food applications using conventional spray dryers. 

Regine Stockmann


Topic: Novel Plant Protein ingredients: production and application in foods


Coming Soon

Presentation Overview 

Coming Soon

Netsanet Shiferaw Terefe


Topic: Update on novel fermentation processes for novel plant based ingredients


Dr. Netsanet Shiferaw Terefe is a principal research scientist at CSIRO Agriculture and Food. Netsanet has a B.Sc. in chemical engineering, a master’s degree in food engineering from the Catholic University of Leuven (KUL), Belgium and a Ph.D. in Bioscience engineering from the same university. Netsanet joined CSIRO as a postdoctoral research fellow in 2006. Since joining CSIRO, she has led several fundamental and applied research projects on conventional and novel food process technologies for value addition to food waste and improving the quality and stability of processed food products. She is currently the science leader for food fermentation research in CSIRO agriculture and food. Netsanet is the lead inventor in a number of fermentation-based technologies for converting plant biomass into novel functional ingredients.

Presentation Overview 

There is a renewed interest in fermented foods in recent times mainly driven by the perceived health benefits of fermented foods both as vehicles of probiotic organisms and health promoting metabolites. The activities of microbial enzymes during fermentation in synergy with endogenous plant enzymes enhances the metabolite profile of the product through conversion of phytochemicals such as polyphenols into their more potent and bioavailable forms.  This presentation discusses our recent work on lactic acid fermentation for stabilisation and conversion of underutilised plant biomass into high value functional ingredients. Insights gained through targeted and untargeted approaches into the underlying mechanisms will also be discussed.

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