Adri Bester is a Senior Food Technologist for LSBU’s School of Applied Sciences and also the lead academic for the London Agri-Food Innovation Clinic (LAFIC) – a European Union funded research project based at LSBU. She specialises in food safety, food risk management, food microbiology & food product development and she’s currently doing her doctorate research document on fermented foods & gut-brain communication.
Alongside a number of colleagues in two sessions on our day devoted to Food & Water, Adri will be sharing more information about LAFIC & what they do, including how they were able to support business during COVID-19. They will also be discussing healthy food, trends in the food & drinks industry and how companies can engage with them for fully funded support.
Adri, firstly, can you tell about your role and why you’re involved in this event series?
As Lead Academic to the LAFIC, I work with the team to achieve our objectives. I delivered all the Stream 2 projects during the first grant fund round. This meant I engaged with companies solving problems and helping develop new products and processes. I am involved in this event series as I am interested in different perspectives of sustainability. When ‘sustainability’ in the food industry first emerged some years back, local sourcing was the buzz word. This was measured in ‘food miles’…..we have moved very far since then. A great initiative that came from that is the Safe and Local Supplier Approval Scheme. I was involved from the beginning in conceptual meetings at the British Retail Consortium.
You’re speaking under the day devoted to Food & Water – both major issues for sustainability & the climate emergency. How do you embed sustainability into your work?
For me, sustainability in food, means local empowerment. I embed this through working with small companies to help them set up the required systems and procedures to enable them to supply their products to the retail industry. As much as we should educate on responsible food consumption to consumers, I try and educate the small companies to consider responsible food manufacture. I look at their waste and suggest products that could be manufactured from this waste.
What has been the highlight of being involved in LAAFIC so far for you?
The highlight of the LAFIC so far has been working with such a great team. We have all been working so hard that we have not stopped to reflect why we are doing so well. I believe it is the team spirit that has developed within a supportive environment.
What are your hopes for the future of food production?
My hopes for the future of food production is not to lose our small-scale farmers.
Finally, what other exciting projects do you have coming up?
My personal research is within the link between the gut and the brain, specifically the bacteria that are involved. The gut microbiome is one of the fastest growing health research paradigms in the world. I am working with Meatless Farm, one of the biggest plant based meat substitute manufacturers in the UK, investigating the impact of their foods on people’s gut microbiota. I am working with Atlas Biomed looking at the gut microbiota signatures of people with high and low resilience. I have a project looking at the impact of regular recreational substance use on the gut microbiota. I am involved in a project studying the effect of a nootropic product on sleep quality.
Adri and her colleagues will be discussing LAFIC & the London Food Strategy on Wednesday 13th January from 10.15am – 11.35am.
For more information and to register for this event, which will be delivered online, visit the event page.