By Heidi Loney
Established in June 1951, the Canadian Institute of Food Science & Technology (CIFST) arose from the recommendations of the National Research Council Committee on Food Preservation, which was formed during the Second World War. The committee recognized food technology as an identifiable science and saw a need for trained people in the secondary handling and processing of food in Canada. The committee’s initiatives led to universities developing food science programs and indirectly establishing food science as a profession in the country.
To celebrate this significant milestone during a pandemic was challenging. Because of COVID-19 restrictions, all in-person events were moved to virtual. Kicking off the celebrations in February 2021, the institute introduced the CIFST “Time Capsule,” which promoted a series of short weekly videos commemorating the history of processed foods. Each video featured a vintage commercial, starting in 1951, the year CIFST was founded, and concluding in 1977.
To complement the “Time Capsule” video series, CIFST profiled past presidents from the last three decades. Throughout the year, 17 past presidents were featured with their photo and a personal quote in which they shared what a CIFST membership meant to them. The campaign included a tribute to Dr. Jim Smith, who served as president (2007-2009) and died in late 2021.
Two other initiatives were also showcased as part of the celebration. The first was a series of Food Fact Friday posts that were shared weekly on CIFST’S social media. CIFST’s student members contributed the food facts.
Another initiative honoured the long-term commitment and dedication of many CIFST members. Last September, CIFST began featuring weekly online profiles of long-term members who had been with the organization 30 years and more – some had been members for over 45 years.
CIFST’s 70th anniversary was an opportunity to showcase the integral role food science has played in the food and beverage industry. While 70 years is often considered the sunset of life in some circles, the association is just getting started and is looking forward to its next chapter.