2023 CIFST Awards Program

Congrats to all of the 2023 Winners!

The CIFST Awards recognize the significant contributions of dedicated food science professionals working across Canada. CIFST Awards recipients were acknowledged this year at our Awards Dinner on June 7th in the Grand Ballroom, Doubletree Hilton Hotel. Congratulations to all of the Winners!

Here is the list of 2023 recipients:

Student Leadership Award: Navneet Navneet, University of Guelph:

The Student Leadership Award is presented to a Student Member who has demonstrated outstanding leadership and contribution to CIFST.

The 2023 Student Leadership Award recipient coordinated a team of University of Guelph students to attend the CIFST November tabletop. To help increase knowledge of the CIFST Student events, she joined the CIFST student committee as the Ontario rep and mentorship lead in an effort to bring a new mentorship program to the board. When the Vice Chair position became vacant, this individual quickly showed interest in the position. Through her work on the committee, she spearheaded projects such as an Instagram takeover in partnership with the University of Guelph and Niagara College. She worked with the mentorship sub-committee to send out a survey to members, joined the CIFST Conference Planning Committee and recommended that CIFST Students form their own LinkedIn group. And at the CIFST Annual Food Summit, she moderated the student panel for the industry session titled: Transitioning into the Workforce: What you need to know!

Food Innovation Award: Dr. Maneka Malalgoda, University of Manitoba:

The Food Innovation Award honours an individual or team for outstanding work in food innovation. To be eligible, the innovation must have been on the market for at least one year prior to nomination.

This 2023 Food Innovation Award recipient’s current research focuses on several aspects of grain chemistry and processing. This individual’s team at the University of Manitoba is investigating food safety concerns in wheat, where acrylamide formation is being studied to identify cultivars low in their potential for the formation of this compound. The team is also investigating rapid analysis methods for asparagine, which is a precursor for acrylamide formation during processing and nutritional aspects and the processing quality of ancient grains such as perennial grains, especially intermediate wheatgrass, and ancient grains such as einkorn, emmer and spelt. Perennial grains present ecological benefits due to their extended root structure, however, in Canada, these grains have not been studied for their food potential. Therefore, to address this knowledge gap, this individual’s team is spearheading research on perennial grains, specifically understanding how such grains can be used in a range of bakery applications and how the chemistry of these grains can be utilized to further enhance their applications in the food industry.

Furthermore, in the area of oat, which is a highly valuable crop in Canada, she is investigating the structure-function properties on oat proteins and using ‘omics’ technologies to further analyze the chemical properties of these proteins. With the growing interest in plant-based proteins, the outcomes of her work are highly relevant as they will help strengthen Canada’s global position as a leading oat exporter, especially for the protein ingredient market. Although grains are very important in our daily diet, specific grains can also pose the risk of triggering different allergenic reactions. In her work, she is also exploring this area, where she is studying different allergenic proteins in oat. She is also working towards the advancement of the Canadian barley sector, where in collaboration with microbiologists, she is studying how the biological control of Fusarium impacts barley end-use quality.

All in all, the recipient has invested a lot of effort in serving different sectors in the Canadian grain industry, including the wheat, oat and barley industries as well as emerging sectors such as ancient grain and perennial grain sectors. As exemplified above, she has made considerable contributions to the industry in a short time span and the ongoing work in her program demonstrates her continued commitment to the Canadian agri-food sector.

Watch Dr. Malalgoda’s acceptance speech HERE.

Emeritus Award: Brad McKay, McKay Consulting:

The Emeritus Award bestows an honourary title upon a member who has retired from their vocation and who, in the course of their career, has contributed meritorious service to the food industry and the CIFST.

The 2023 Emeritus Award recipient is deserving of this award because of his success both in his career but also his long-term commitment to the CIFST. With a remarkable tenure of over 30 years in the Canadian food and related industries, he has consistently demonstrated unparalleled expertise, innovation, and leadership. What truly sets this individual apart is his passion for the CIFST. He is Past President of CIFST, having served from 2002-03 and has been a member of the Past Presidents Committee for the last several years. He is a long-term member of the CIFST since 1999. His long-term dedication and active involvement within the organization have been instrumental in its growth and success.  His tireless efforts to support CIFST’s initiatives, events, and programs have profoundly and positively impacted the broader food and beverage community.

Read Brad’s heartwarming acceptance speech HERE.

Institute Award: Jennifer Ward, Barry Callebaut:

The Institute Award is presented to a Professional member or Retired member of CIFST for an outstanding contribution to the Institute.

The 2023 Institute Award recipient has been the driving force in the local Ontario chapter for the past six years, using their unbelievable drive, determination, and fundamental passion for the food industry to breathe new life into the Ontario Chapter. This individual stepped up as many others stepped out. She created a new Board of Directors, laid out a plan of action to bring CIFST Ontario back to life as we emerged from the pandemic, and worked tirelessly with her team to make the two main events of 2022 happen – The Ontario Section suppliers night and their Golf Tournament a success! Everyone was inspired by her hands on approach and willingness to help wherever she could. As with all great leaders, this individual has demonstrated even more class by rapidly using the knowledge gained from the experience and creating a simple and effective plan to repeat these events this year.

President’s Award: Belinda Elysée-Collen, Dempsey Food:

The President’s Award and recognizes a volunteer who has made significant contributions and demonstrated commitment in support of CIFST.

The 2023 President’s Award recipient has been a steadfast member of CIFST for an extended period, and her passion for the field of food science is truly commendable. Her continued involvement and unwavering support make her an exemplary candidate for the President’s Award. She has selflessly devoted countless hours to various initiatives, committees, and projects.  Her extensive knowledge, expertise, and willingness to share her insights have been invaluable in shaping the success of CIFST and its members.Her commitment to professional development and continuous learning is evident in her active participation and sponsorship of workshops, conferences, and webinars organized by CIFST. Recognizing her efforts will not only celebrates her individual achievements but also inspire others to follow in her footsteps and contribute meaningfully to CIFST’s mission.

Watch Belinda’s acceptance speech HERE.

See you all in 2024!