Food science and food processing are the focus of the 8th ASEAN food conference taking place in Hanoi, Vietnam this week. Organised by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) the event will aim to encourage new business opportunities for the food and drink industry in the region through link-ups and new technologies.
A key motivation behind ASEAN, established in 1967, is to accelerate the economic growth in a region which currently has a combined GDP of US$737 billion (€628.5bn) and a total trade of US$720 billion.
The four-day conference, ending on 11 October, is a great chance for local firms to get themselves and their products known to foreign counterparts, who will come to join an expo to be held alongside the conference, said Luu Duan, vice chairman of the Vietnam Food Science and Technology Association.
Plenary sessions cover the current buzz topics in the food industry and include the 'Contribution of food science and technology to modernization of Vietnam agriculture and rural development' from Prof. Dr. Bui Ba Bong at the ministry of agriculture and rural development in Vietnam, 'Functional food of interest to ASEAN: from Chinese experience to modern production and trading' by Prof. Dr. Jin Zonglian from China's Peking United university, and 'Genetically modified food: issues on acceptance, prospect, and challenge for consideration in ASEAN' by Prof. Dr. Paul Baumgartner at the University of Western Sydney in Australia.
Conference topics will look at food biotechnology and nutrition, advanced technology and trends in the food industry, food engineering and packaging and food microbiology and safety.
The organisers are expecting some 400 ASEAN officials to attend the event. The five original ASEAN member countries are Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand. Brunei Darussalam,Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar and Cambodia have since become members.