It made me recall many of the issues that have challenged the food industry since I first joined the magazine in 1986. Back in the ‘80s, Food Engineering was quite different. In the old days, we not only covered processing, packaging and other plant floor technologies, we also gave full coverage to product development, new formulations and ingredients.
After taking a journey through the archives, it was amazing to see how many of the issues challenging the food industry back then are still here today. We’ve seen great technological improvement over the past few decades, but solutions on how to improve operator skill levels and the American obesity problem remain elusive.
It was gratifying to see that many of the technologies we championed on the pages of FE have truly made a difference for our industry. An editorial column from April 1997 really hit home: “The technology that…has greatly changed the face of manufacturing and will continue to revolutionize food manufacturing in the future is the new era of information exchange—real time information shared across an enterprise; information communicated across Intranets and the Internet; and the new software packages that allow the plant floor engineer to easily and quickly optimize processes and process control.”
Today on the pages of Food Engineering, you see a monthly column on Managing Software and feature articles such as “The Essential Guide to Manufacturing Software.”
One thing that emerged for me during this nostalgic journey was not just the technology FE had reported since 1928, but a deluge of memories of the people from the food industry.
In this special edition we are, as a matter of course, reviewing the major food manufacturing innovations of the 20th Century in a 10-page retrospective, thanks to the expertise of retired Food Engineering Senior Editor Chuck Morris. We are also honoring food industry innovators in a special anniversary issue Hall of Fame by another food publishing industry veteran, Contributing Editor Mike Pehanich. In keeping with a relatively new FE tradition—that is compared to our 75-year history—we will be saluting the great engineering minds behind all of the past Food Engineering Plant of the Year award winners starting in 1983 with Campbell Soup to 2003’s winner, American Italian Pasta Company.
Lastly, I’d like to thank all of you reading this for your support over the years in allowing us to reach this milestone. Here’s to you and 75 years of Food Engineering!