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5th International Congress on Food Technology

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Invitation by the Chairman of the Scientific Committee

Τελευταία τροποποίηση 30/06/2006 00:19

Dear Colleagues,

It is well known that food industry is one of the largest manufacturing sectors in Europe as well as in Greece. To confirmation of this, the following numbers are revealing. Today the industry of foods and drinks covers almost the ¼ of Greek industrial production and includes more than 800 enterprises. Food industry in Greece offers a job in 50 thousands persons and an income to their families. The Greek Food Industry has many reasons for being proud for its achievements up to today. It is a sector dynamic, competitive and extrovert; it plays an important role in the economic growth of the country and is its “European” sector. In this frame, it faces European challenges, which are the same to those faced by the most important in size and employment sector of European Industry, which is certainly the food. 

The food and drink industry is one of the most important industrial sectors, a major employer and exporter in the EU. This sector is characterised by the diversity in its types of activities and in the end products manufactured. The products covered can vary from bakery, pastry, chocolate, confectionary products to modified starches or different food preparations. The European Commission is seeking to ensure the competitiveness of the European food industries in the context of the Common Agricultural policy (CAP) and the EU’s obligations in the World Trade Organisation (WTO). 

European Food Industry has an annual turnover of € 815 billion, comprises some 280000 companies, transforms over 70 % of the EU’s agricultural production and employs more than 4 million people across the enlarged EU. The sector covers a market of 450 million consumers throughout the EU, which is the world’s second exporter and the largest global importer of agricultural products, with a positive trade balance of € 5.8 billion and overall growth of about 2 %. 

About 77 per cent of food products launched in 2004 were innovative in formulation and only 1.5 per cent of them were innovative in technology. Innovation on formulation increased to 77 per cent in 2004, from 66 per cent in 1999 while innovation on both packaging and positioning decreased. 

The total value of EU's food and drink exports reached €22.07 billion in the first half of 2005, while imports were valued at €19.65 billion, a fall of 0.7 per cent. North America remains the largest market for the EU's food industry.  However EU exports to the region fell by 0.4 per cent during the first half of 2005 to about €5.7 billion. Exports to Asean-member countries rose by six per cent. They also rose by 11.9 per cent to the group of 15 former Soviet Union states, loosely known as the Commonwealth of Independent States. The EU's beverages sector, which accounted for more than a quarter of the total exports, increases exports by about one per cent to €6.4 billion during the six month period. Within the total, sales of distilled alcoholic beverages rose by 7.2 per cent, while wine exports fell by seven per cent. Mineral waters and soft drinks registered a growth of 11.6 per cent to €773 million. Exports of sugar, confectionery, coffee, tea, baby products and dietetic foods rose by 9.9 per cent during the period to reach €5.6 billion. Exports of diary products rose by 2.4 per cent to reach €2.78 billion. Meat products sales fell by 2.4 per cent to €2.57 billion. Processed fruit and vegetable exports rose by 6.8 per cent, fish products by 2.5 per cent and animal feed by 10.1 per cent. Sales of oils and fats fell by 10.6 per cent. Exports of flour and starch products fell by 7.9 per cent.

 
The European, as well as the Greek food industry, is seeking to build on this strength by enhancing its overall technology level, cost-efficiency, environmental and especially consumer friendliness. Conventional and established food processing and preservation methods are continuously optimised and improved, while the recent launch of a number of exciting emerging and novel technologies could dramatically revolutionise the manufacture and handling of affordable, healthy, high-quality and convenient food products. The safety has always been a major focus but, despite a number of food scandals of the recent past with resulting loss of consumer confidence, the European food supply has never been safer. 

A study published last year by the European Commission shows food producers worldwide are still last on the list of the top 15 sectors when it comes to spending on Research &Development, even as their sales continue to show sluggish growth in many markets. The relatively low spend contrasts with the size of the sector. For example it is the largest manufacturing sector in the EU. The European Commission has consistently said the food sector needs to become more competitive by spending on R&D as a means of bringing new products and processing techniques to the market. As part of a strategy to boost spending in the sector, the Commission announced last year it would spend €61m on five big food research projects to sharpen Europe's competitive edge in food and drink. 

The 5th International Congress on Food Technology provides an open forum where academics and stakeholders from across Europe and around the world can propose knowledge-based solutions by presenting and discussing recent research findings, developments and trends in the production, preservation and supply of wholesome and high-quality foods. The congress gives scientists and practitioners an opportunity to meet colleagues and share ideas that may shape food research and engineering for years to come. Furthermore, the congress will be an opportunity for participants to exchange of information and personal contact between all those interested in food science & technology, to explore new paths for innovation, to exchange information on new processes and equipment, to exchange views and know-how, to promote the quality and competitiveness of food products. 

After the resounding success of the previous 4th International Congress on Food Technology held in Piraeus in 2005, the Hellenic Association of Food Technologists (P.E.TE.T.) is now proud to organise and invite you the 5th Congress which will be held in Thessaloniki, Greece, from 9-11 March 2007, and entitled: “Consumer Protection through Food Process Improvement & Innovation in the Real World”. The event will take place concurrently with the Detrop 07 Exhibition and will be held in "Nikolaos Germanos" Congress Centre of HELEXPO facilities, Thessaloniki, Greece and is arranged with the joint efforts of the HELEXPO, of the Department of Food Technology, Technological Educational Institution of Athens and of the Department of Food Technology, Technological Education Institution of Larissa. The congress is under the aegis of the School of Food Technology & Nutrition, Technological Educational Institution (TEI) of Thessaloniki and of the Hellenic Food Authority (EFET) 

Congress participants will enjoy the Greek hospitality, culture, traditions and historical heritage. Hence, there are many reasons why you should attend the 5th International Congress on Food Technology to present your work, meet key scientists and food policy makers or find international partners for future co-operation. 

We look forward to seeing you in Thessaloniki, the capital city of Northern Greece. 

Prof. Dr. Evangelos S. Lazos


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