Northeast IFT Food Industry Expo
Tuesday, May 14, 2024 • DCU Center, Worcester MA
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Seminar Schedule

11:00 - 11:45

Level 3

11:45- 12:30

Level 3

12:30 - 1:30

Level 3

Room C

Swift Surveillance: A Smartphone Microscope Solution for Detecting Bacteria on Food Contact Surfaces

Early Prediction of Oil Shelf-Life through Machine Learning

Room D
Title: Enhancing Food Science with AI-powered Colorimetry Commercializing the Low FODMAP diet Increasing the Acceptance of Plant-based Alternatives to Animal-based Foods

Commercializing the Low FODMAP diet

Luke Lucas
President, Foddies

As awareness and acknowledgement of food allergies and intolerances continues to increase, food brands and manufacturers are increasingly looking for options to service those with dietary restrictions. The Low FODMAP diet is a diet that may benefit individuals with various gastrointestinal disorders including: IBS and IBD, Crohn’s Disease, Ulcerative Colitis and other associated conditions. Given the relative complexity of the diet and the number of common, everyday ingredients in use today that are high in FODMAPs, developing and commercializing Low FODMAP products can prove to be very challenging. 

Luke is the cofounder and president of Foddies, a specialty Low FODMAP food brand. Founded in Australia 10 years ago and expanding into the United States in 2021, Foddies was amongst the first in the world to commercialize the Low FODMAP diet. Launching with a number of retail hospitality stores around Melbourne, Australia, Foddies provided a range of dine-in breakfast, brunch and lunch options for its customers. Following COVID and the associated lockdowns, the company pivoted to a range of packaged product offerings, reaching almost 50 SKUs across the frozen and ambient sectors, distributed nation-wide across Australia and, eventually, into the United States.


Luke is also currently working with an Australian trade board to assist other food and beverage companies looking to enter into, or expand within, the US market


Enhancing Food Science with AI-powered Colorimetry

Abe Walters
Founder & CEO AI Measurements

: Discover the transformative impact of AI-powered colorimeters on food product analysis. This talk will explore how these advanced tools surpass traditional colorimetry in accuracy, speed, and efficiency, revolutionizing quality control, R&D, and production processes. Learn about the technology behind AI colorimetry and its significant contributions to food science, including formula enhancements and process improvements. This session is a must-attend for professionals aiming to elevate their work and set new industry standards with cutting-edge technology. Join us to peer into the future of food science powered by AI

Early Prediction of Oil Shelf-Life through Machine Learning

Jiakai Lu, Assistant Professor, University of Massachusetts

The process of lipid oxidation in bulk oil follows a distinctive pattern,ultimately leading to rancidity. This presentation introduces a pioneering method employing Machine Learning-guided kinetic modeling to delineate the degradation pathway of antioxidants in bulk oil before its expiration date. The proposed approach suggests that the shelf life of soybean oil can be accurately forecast as early as 20% into its overall shelf life. By adopting this innovative technique, a more efficient and expedited assessment of shelf life can be achieved, thereby minimizing waste and enhancing product quality.


Jiakai Lu is an Assistant Professor in the department of Food Science at the Unversity of Massachusetts, Amherst. Dr. Lu's current focus lies in investigating combined effects of surfectants and rheology in free-surface flow systems in food processing applications. Additionally, he is actively involved in research on sustainable cleaning technologies using ultrafine bubbles.His research projects have garnered support from prestigious organizations such as the US Department of Agriculture and the US Department of Defense.
Increasing the Acceptance of Plant-based Alternatives to Animal-based Foods
Alissa Nolden, Assistant Professor, University of Massachusetts

The enduring challenge of low acceptance for plant-based alternatives stems from taste and texture disparities with traditional animal-based foods. Overcoming these obstacles demands heightened collaboration between sensory scientists and consumer insights experts, ensuring the creation of appealing products. While scientific advancements and novel technology are critical for developing sustainable products, more sensory and consumer studies are needed to increase their adoption.


Alissa Nolden is an Assistant Professor at The University of Massachusetts, Amherst in the Department of Food Science who works with her colleagues and students to enhance the field of food science and human health. Alissa believes understanding factors influencing sensory perception and taste preferences is important in increasing consumption and creating delicious, healthful, and sustainable foods. She has conducted consumer surveys and sensory studies regarding plant-based foods to understand consumers’ motivation to adopt a diet that includes plant-based products, focusing on sensory attributes and personality factors associated with liking and intake.

Swift Surveillance: A Smartphone Microscope Solution for Detecting Bacteria on Food Contact Surfaces
Yuzhen Zhang, PhD Student, University of Massachusetts

Presentation for a rapid, cost-effective solution for detecting bacterial cells on food-contact surfaces by using a smartphone microscope, which holds promise for revolutionizing bacterial surveillance on food contact surfaces, offering an efficient and affordable way to improve food safety for the food industry.

Yuzhen Zhang majored in chemistry as an undergrad, and biochemistry in her master's study at Xiamen University in China. In 2022 fall, she joined Dr. Lili He’s lab in the food science department of the University of Massachusetts Amherst to do the Ph.D. program. Her project is to develop rapid and cost-effective methods to detect bacterial contamination on food-contact surfaces, helping to reduce food safety issues practically. At the same time, she was the core facility manager at the Institution of Applied Life Science at the Umass, helping over 10 companies and other institutions to solve detection challenges in food, beverages, food packages, and other biosamples.