Food & Drink Special Interest Group
A community for process professionals


Chair: Amanda Talhat, PepsiCo, UK

Amanda Talhat

Amanda matriculated in 2006 and completed her undergraduate in Natural Sciences (Chemistry) in 2010. She then switched over to Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology for her PhD, and studied cocoa butter crystallisation in collaboration with Nestlé PTC York. Upon finishing her PhD in 2014, she joined Cambridge Consultants as a Technology Analyst in the Strategy, Innovation and Process group. She was later transferred to the Analytical Engineering Group to help build the Applied Chemistry capability of the division. She currently works at Pepsico International as a R&D Scientist. Her main area of focus is to build up the Physical Chemistry / Chemical Engineering capability of the Analytical Team, and to help drive innovation via experimental research.

Amanda has worked on both consulting and technical projects ranging from Food & Beverage to Industrial Applications. She is also a member of the Trinity Engineers Association Organisation Committee, and is interested in encouraging more young alumni to take up mentoring.  

Newsletter editor: Dr Paul Stevenson, University of Auckland, New Zealand

Paul is currently based at the University of Auckland, New Zealand, where his research interest include the foam fractionation of proteins from dairy feed and the development of milking technology. He took masters and doctoral degrees in Chemical Engineering from Cambridge.

Secretary: Paula Haran, PM Group, UK

Paula PhotoPaula Graduated with an MEng in Biosystems Engineering from University College Dublin in 2013. Paula completed a work placement with PM Group in Dublin with their Food Department.

Since graduating Paula has worked as a Process Engineer with PM Group in their Birmingham Office. Paula works on a variety of projects for multinational clients, specialising in Food projects.


Dr Laura Mahli, Mondel─ôz International, UK

Laura MalhiLaura has a Chemical Engineering master’s degree and Formulation Engineering PhD from The University of Birmingham. After her doctorate, Laura worked within long-term research at Unilever where she managed a team in new product development.

Currently Laura works in the chocolate category in Mondelez where she leads processing projects. 



Dr Bettina Wolf, University of Nottingham, UK

Bettina WolfBettina graduated in Chemical Engineering in 1989 from the Technical University of Karlsruhe (Germany) and completed a Doctorate in Technical Sciences in the Food Process Engineering group at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), Zurich, graduating in 1995.

Before joining ETH Bettina worked as rheologist at the German Institute for Food Technology (DIL), Quakenbrück. She left ETH in 1997 to join the Product Microstructure unit and then Corporate Research at Unilever Research Colworth, UK, as research scientist.

In 2002/03 Bettina completed a 6 months secondment at the Savoury Global Technology Centre of Unilever Bestfoods in Heilbronn (Germany).

In 2006 Bettina left Unilever to take up a post as Associate Professor in Biomaterials Science in the Division of Food Sciences at the University of Nottingham, UK. Her research interests lie in the fields of rheology, food microstructure and processing, oral processing and food interfaces. Read more >>

Dr Colin Bailey, UK

Colin BaileyColin is a Chartered Engineer and Fellow of IChemE, with over 30 years' experience in food process engineering, specialising in food refrigeration systems.

He graduated in Chemical Engineering from Swansea University in 1960 and subsequently obtained his PhD from London South Bank University.

He has formerly been Director of Engineering at the Food Research Institute (Bristol), the Flour Milling and Baking Research Association (Chorleywood) and the Institution of Chemical Engineers (Rugby).

He is a Past President of the UK Institute of Refrigeration and Past Vice-President of the Scientific Council of the International Institute of Refrigeration. He is currently a Consultant in Food Refrigeration and Process Engineering.

Dr David Garrec, Mars, UK

David graduated in Chemistry (MChem) in 2008 from Warwick University with a Master’s thesis on polymer chemistry. He then went on to complete an EngD in Chemical Engineering on ‘Understanding Fluid Gels and Hydrocolloid Tribology’ in collaboration with Cargill at Birmingham University (2012). His EngD project, which looked into how food hydrocolloid structures are designed and influence material properties and lubrication for mouth-feel, earned him an Industrial Fellowship with the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851.

David then joined Mars in 2012 as a Senior Materials Scientist working in the Global Applied Science and Technology team. His current research activities are focused on the measurement, design and processing of structured foods for supporting the innovation pipeline of products within the Petcare segment.

Donald Holdsworth, UK

Donald HoldsworthDonald is a graduate in chemistry (London University) and a postgraduate in chemical engineering (Leeds University). He initiated chemical engineering courses and research at the Borough Polytechnic in London in 1959 following a period in the chemical engineering division Harwell, Oxford, subsequently moving to the Campden Food Research Association where he was Research Coordinator for many years. Before retiring in 1990 he started the Food Engineering Department. He is also FRSC, FIChemE, FIFST as well as a member of the SCI.

He was Chairman of the SCI Food Engineering Panel 1978-81 and of IChemE's Food & Drink Subject Group from 1987-90, and is active as an editor for Food and Bioproducts Processing and the Journal of Food Engineering. He has published many papers on food preservation and four textbooks. He is actively studying the development and funding of food research in the UK during the 20th century. 

Dr Fotis Spyropoulos, University of Birmingham, UK

Fotis SpyropoulosFotis graduated in Chemical Engineering in 2001 from the University of Patras (Greece) and subsequently obtained his Msc in ‘Food Biotechnology’ from the University of Ulster (NI).

In 2006 he completed his PhD on ‘The phase, rheological and interfacial behaviour of water-in-water emulsions’ at the School of Chemical Engineering of the University of Birmingham, where he then remained as a research fellow.

In November 2010 he was appointed a Lecturer (of Chemical Engineering at the University of Birmingham). Fotis’ current research interests and activities mainly focus in the areas of ‘Food Structure Development’, ‘Encapsulation and Release’ and ‘Formulation Engineering of Emulsions and Soft Solids’. Fotis is also an academic member on the steering group for the Diet and Health Research Industry Club (DRINC) and a member of the “Gums and Stabilisers for the Food Industry” Conference Organising Committee. 

Dr Ian Wilson, University of Cambridge, UK

Ian WilsonIan is based in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology at the University of Cambridge, where his research interests including fouling, cleaning and heat transfer; rheology; particle technology, and the processing of microstructured materials. He is a Fellow of IChemE.


Julio Traub, Heriot Watt University, UK

Julio is a chemical and industrial engineer. Since graduating from the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile he has gained more than ten years of industrial and academic experience. He started his professional career working for James Hardie, a large multinational Building Products company in Santiago, Chile. He was then relocated to New Zealand and later to Australia, also completing secondments to plants in the Philippines and the US on a number of occasions. In over eight years working in the Asia Pacific Region as a Manufacturing Manager he was accountable for meeting and improving production outputs; managing and reducing plant costs; ensuring that product met quality standards; and overseeing environmental, health and safety.

In 2011 Julio graduated with a masters degree in Bioprocessing from Heriot-Watt University and he is currently completing the third year of his PhD working as part of the 'Horizon Proteins' team project, working to develop a sustainable process for the recovery of proteins from whisky distillery co-products for use in aquaculture feeds. During his PhD, Julio has worked with several industrial partners including the Scotch Whisky Research Institute (SWRI), various distilleries and leading fish feed manufacturers.

Matt Hogan, Mars UK

Matt HoganMatt is currently a Senior Technical Manager at Mars Chocolate in the UK. He has worked on activities across the supply chain from operational technical support to technical brand management as well as in the demand side of the business in brand management.

In recent years Matt has been responsible for managing the identification, adoption and implementation of novel technologies into Mars’ manufacturing sites globally. Currently Matt manages the global chocolate open innovation programme. Matt is a chartered engineer and has a Ph.D in Biochemical Engineering from University College London in the field of Biocatalysis.

Professor Philip Richardson, Campden BRI Group, UK

Philip RichardsonPhilip is Head of the Food Manufacturing Technologies Department at Campden BRI.  By  background he is a Chartered Chemical Engineer and has practical and managerial experience gained from working in the food industry and in a variety of roles during his 30 years at Campden BRI (Formerly CCFRA).

 During his early career, his research activities focused on aseptic technology, canning, microwave heating, process simulation, sensors and process control

He has been involved in the development of safe reheating strategies for food products, an activity that led to him being awarded an industrial prize for scientific excellence.

Philip Richardson is leading the programme to deliver the Food and Health Innovation Service in Scotland supporting Scottish food companies as they seek to deliver innovative products to the marketplace that support improved food and health of the consumer.

He has an extensive publication list in a broad range of areas related to innovation and manufacturing in the food industry including three edited collections specifically on thermal processing.

His current responsibilities are for the team at  Campden BRI  supporting the food industry in  product and process innovation, production support and with HACCP/QA services. These consultancy, training and research activities whilst focused in the UK are global.  He has been involved in a number of European R&D programmes helping to build the RA's involvement in international R&D related to food processing technologies. He has worked internationally for Campden BRI in many countries across Europe and beyond in North America and South Africa.

Professor Serafim Bakalis, University of Birmingham, UK

Serafim BakalisSerafim graduated in Chemical Engineering from the National Technical University of Athens, Greece, in 1994 and has a PhD in Food Science from Rutgers University (1999).

After doing industrial and academic research he was appointed in 2004 as a Robert's Fellow in the School of Chemical Engineering at the University of Birmingham.


Stephen Davies, Tetronics Ltd, UK

Stephen DaviesStephen is a Chartered Engineer, who joined APV in 1980 after graduating from Surrey University, UK with a BSc in Chemical Engineering. He held a number of senior positions within the APV UK & Ireland business, including roles in Automation and Process Engineering, prior to his appointment as Managing Director (UK, Ireland & Southern Africa) and then VP Global Engineering & Technology for the APV Group. He left APV in 2006 to become CEO of Pursuit Processing Equipment Ltd (part of the Pursuit Dynamics Group) and then CEO of Tectronics Ltd in 2009.

He is a Fellow of the Institution of Chemical Engineers and a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Engineers.

Tom Bullock, PepsiCo, UK

Tom BullockTom graduated with an MEng in Chemical Engineering from the University of Birmingham in 2011. As a student he completed a year’s placement with PepsiCo in an R&D role focused on potato chip quality. Following graduation he joined United Biscuits R&D in an ingredients development role to gain a foundation in industrial baking and snack technologies and ingredient functionality.

In 2014 Tom joined PepsiCo’s regional R&D team as Process Engineer focusing on the development of baked snacks across Europe. In his spare time Tom enjoys a number of outdoor and mountain activities.

Dr Tony Hasting, Tony Hasting Consulting, UK

Tony HastingTony obtained BSC and PhD degrees in Chemical Engineering at the University of Birmingham, UK.

He joined the Process Development Department of APV International in 1974 where he was involved in the development of processes and equipment primarily for the food industry.

In 1985 he joined the Unilever Research Colworth Laboratory as a project manager, involved in all aspects of hygienic processing related to food safety and spoilage including background research through to direct factory support. He has authored some 40 papers in addition to several book chapters and regularly given presentations at both national and international conferences.

He left Unilever at the end of 2004 to start up his own independent consultancy business and is also a part-time lecturer in the School of Chemical Engineering at the University of Birmingham. He is a chartered engineer and a Fellow of the Institution of Chemical Engineers. 

My IChemE

IChemE is a registered charity in England & Wales (214379), and a charity registered in Scotland (SC 039661).