By Alejandra Pulido-Guzman - Lethbridge Herald on September 28, 2023.
The University of Lethbridge will be kicking off this year’s PUBlic Professor Series with president and vice-chancellor Digvir Jayas speaking about recent trends in the food industry.
Jayas said he is honoured to be the first one to speak this year and is hoping he can meet the standard that has been set by other speakers in the last decade.
“I wouldn’t call my presentation a very technical presentation, it is not a research presentation. I have tried to do it so the public can make sense of it and hopefully they can take that information and implement it themselves,” said Jayas.
He said he will be talking about not only the trends in the food industry, but also the trends of what consumers are asking for and what industries are doing about it.
“For example, consumers are becoming a lot more health conscious, so they are asking for more plant-based protein and that has the led food industry to invest quite heavily into producing plant-based products like burgers or hotdogs,” said Jayas.
He said down the line, people could start making lab-based hamburger patties using cells to grow meat in a lab, but that is something he believes will not happen quite yet.
“That’s ways down the line before people start using lab-grown meat, but certainly the research in that area is growing,” said Jayas.
He said other trends he will touch on are the fact that people are trying to eat healthier and therefore have increased their intake of fruits and vegetables.
Jayas added another aspect he will touch on has to do with the way industries are doing quality control of their products.
“Typically the food quality is monitored by human beings and they do the assessment of the quality the way they understand, but they get fatigued and sometimes that leads to errors and inconsistency and therefore researchers are working hard towards developing machine-based systems,” said Jayas.
He said some of the ways the machine-based quality control work is done by using cameras to take pictures of products to identify defective areas, as well as using X-rays, thermal imaging, CT scans and MRIs to look at the quality of the food.
“I will touch a little bit on that on how the bio-imagining can be used to asses the quality of the food at multiple points of the food industry and then incorporate that in the automation of food industry and quality monitoring,” said Jayas.
The free speaker series begins this evening at the Sandman Signature Lethbridge Lodge starting at 7 p.m.
The full schedule can be found at http://www.ulethbridge.ca/research/public-professor.
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