Food Physics Group

This is an IOP special interest group, which is a community of IOP members focused on a particular discipline, application or area of interest. 

Special interest groups allow members to connect and share knowledge and ideas. The IOP funds groups to deliver a range of activities including events, prizes and bursaries. All of our groups are driven by members.  


    About the group

    Physics supports the food manufacturing sector to:

    • improve productivity
    • improve food security
    • address health and nutrition concerns
    • minimise waste and environmental impact
    • develop and manufacture successful products 
    • respond to population growth and globalisation

    Food Manufacturing is the largest manufacturing sector in the UK, employing more than 400,000 people and supporting nearly three million subsidiary jobs across the supply chain. It directly contributes £28bn to the UK economy.

    A multidisciplinary approach is vital to solving these problems and physics has a crucial role to play.

    In 2016 and 2017 we ran a successful open innovation programme with our partners:

    • Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN)
    • Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council  (EPSRC)
    • PepsiCo
    • Unilever
    • Jacob Douwe Egberts
    • Sheffield Hallam University

    This programme has engaged over 100 physicists from industry and academia. The Institute of Physics report, The Health of Physics in UK Food Manufacturing (PDF, 1.8MB), published in October 2016 describes the vital role physics plays in the food manufacturing industry and how it can be harnessed to make the sector world-leading.  

    The Physics in Food Manufacturing Group was inaugurated in 2017 to provide a link between physics working in food manufacture in industry and academia and between sub-disciplines: stimulating research, raising the profile of the role of physics in this sector and providing a mechanism to represent the views of physicists in this sector to policy makers.

    Three international conferences later, and after much external outreach, the group voted at its 2020 AGM to change its name to Food Physics.

    We believe Food Physics better reflects the breadth and depth of physics involved across the whole supply chain; spanning not just manufacturing, but also food sustainability, agriculture, ingredient functionality, product design, oral processing and digestion.

    What the group does

    We support links between industrial and academic food manufacturing physicists and between sub-disciplines. This is to: 

    • stimulate research
    • raise the profile of the role of physics 
    • represent the views of physicists to policy makers

    IOP Business Innovation award winner 2018

    PepsiCo won the Institute of Physics Business Innovation Award 2018 for the soft matter physics that underpins the launch of Lay's Shapes in emerging markets.

    silhouettes of a group of people with backdrop of equations

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    Group events

    Find group events on the IOP events site.

    Newsletter

    February 2020 (PDF, 870KB)
    February 2019 (PDF, 874KB)
    March 2018 (PDF, 1.54MB)

    Useful links

    Cover image for Health of Physics in UK Food Manufacturing report

    The Health of Physics in UK Food Manufacturing

    Download report (PDF, 1.8MB)

    Committee and contacts