Woolworths scooped the President’s Award for its contribution to food science and technology at a recent international conference of food scientists and experts from around the world. South Africa’s Association for Food Science and Technology (SAAFoST) has only bestowed the accolade four times in their 50 year history. Woolworths is the first retailer to win. Rosie Maguire, President of SAAFoST explains: “Woolworths food technical team are richly deserving of our President’s Award. It is a coveted honour presented at the end of a SAAFoST President’s term of office, to recognize an organisation or individual that has made a significant contribution towards the achievement of SAAFoST vision and mission of advancing food science and related technologies for the supply of safe and wholesome food in South Africa.” In naming Woolworths as its 2010 President Award winner, SAAFoST specifically cited. • Technical excellence and a strong dedication to supplying consumers with safe, delicious and innovative products. • The early adoption of new technologies. • Stringent adherence to legislation. • Concern for the environment and ethical business practices. Commenting on this achievement, Woolworths Food Managing Director, Zyda Rylands says, “It is an extraordinary honour to be commended for our uncompromising standards. Woolworths believes that customers deserve the best innovation, quality and value for money – this focus is at the heart of our “difference.” Editor’s notes: SAAFoST SAAFoST is a national association concerned with advancing the knowledge of Food Science and Technology. It does this through encouraging scientific research, organising meetings, seminars, workshops, exhibitions, congresses, publishing papers and assisting in educational activities. IUFoST The International Union of Food Science and Technology (IUFoST), a country-membership organisation is the global voice of food science and technology. It is a voluntary, non-profit federation of national food science organisations linking the world's food scientists and technologists. The 15th IUFoST Congress was held in Cape Town, South Africa from 22 to 26 August, 2010. SAAFoST co-ordinated the event. Woolworths win was announced at this gathering. Additional notes Innovation, technology and science have underpinned Woolworths difference for many years. This approach has produced many milestones is what we call our Good Food Journey, including the following initiatives: • Woolworths was the first major local retailer to introduce sell by dates. • Woolworths legendary cold chain keeps our food fresher for longer. In short, we insist on first-class handling disciplines and optimum temperature control from the time a product is produced to when it reaches our store shelves. • We minimise the use of pesticides on our crops. For example in 2009 Woolies announced a new farming method for our fresh produce called Farming for the future which aims to radically improve soil and plant health, preserve resources like water and soil and protect biodiversity. • As far as possible, we avoid using additives in our own brand of food. Woolworths announced that from April 2010 Woolworths-branded foods would no longer contains azo dyes, a type of artificial colourants frequently used to colour sweets and other brightly coloured foodstuffs. This follows the removal of the artificial sweeteners aspartame, saccharin and cyclamate last year. • Our food safety and integrity standards are demanding. Well beyond legal requirements, Woolworths has driven uncompromising production controls and audits for many years.