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Interview with the chairs of the Organizing Committee and Science Committee of the IDF Cheese Science and Technology Symposium 2024

Date: May 24, 2024
Subject Area: Food Standards, Nutrition & Health

The “IDF Cheese Science & Technology Symposium 2024”, which will take place from 4-6 June 2024 in Bergen, Norway aims to move forward in research, innovation and sustainability in cheesemaking. This event promises to be a remarkable gathering of renowned experts, researchers, and industry leaders in the cheese and dairy community. IDF interviewed Ms Ida Berg Hauge, Chair of the Organizing Committee, and Professor Siv Borghild Skeie, Chair of the Science Committe.

  1. Why did Norway decide to organize the IDF Cheese Science and Technology Symposium?

IDF Norway has not hosted an international event for a long time, so we saw this as a good opportunity to invite our cheese colleagues around the world to Norway as well as making IDF and our work more known in Norway. Cheese production is important for the Norwegian dairy industry with several strong and unique products and brands, and the artisan cheese production is increasing. Therefore, we thought this would be a great chance to gather the global cheese specialists, researchers, scientists, industry people and others from the cheese value chain for a high quality gathering in the beautiful city of Bergen.

  1. Can you tell us something about the Norwegian Cheese industry?

In the last century cheese production in Norway as in many other countries has been more industrialized and professionalized, with only a few larger national dairy companies producing cheese. These companies produce cheese mainly for the domestic market, but there are also some Norwegian cheeses known outside our country like the flagship Jarlsberg® produced by TINE. Also, Snøfrisk® made of goatmilk is known for many Europeans and our specialty brown cheese is exported mainly to Asia. Cheese consumption in Norway has steadily increased in volume, and every Norwegian consumed about 20 kg of cheese in 2023. The last 20-25 years increased local production of artisanal cheeses have been in focus by the government, and now we have a number of small-scale cheese producers that makes local and specialized cheeses. Norway is definitely a cheese country you can count on, with a wide range of high-quality cheeses produced both by the industry and local producers. Among other things there has been several Norwegian cheeses winning the World Cheese Awards. On the scientific side Norwegian cheese scientists have been focusing on cheese ripening and how the cheese microbiota affects the cheese flavor and texture, but also on milk quality especially focusing on goat milk where Norway has exceptional results to show the world.

  1. What are the strengths of the Symposium’s program?

The program has many sessions with strong keynote speakers as well as selected researchers showing their latest research results. We think that the program covers the challenges that the cheese industry faces and will also show some of the technical solutions for the future. We have tried to emphasize the industrial perspective, but at the same time keep the scientific profile. Many of the Keynotes are young and aspiring, these are the scientists who will lead the future of cheese research.

  1. Whom is it aimed at?

It is aimed at the whole value chain of the dairy industry, and this should be a place where researchers and professionals from the dairy industry will meet and network.

  1. Please, tell us about the international scope of the Symposium

The keynote speakers come from almost all continents of the world presenting their lates findings and insights. We cover a broad range of topics including milk and cheese quality, starter cultures, microbiota, sustainability, innovation in manufacturing and processing as well as nutrition and packaging. These topics are common to the global cheese industry. The 200 participants have a widespread background from different parts of the world.

  1. Who are the sponsors?

We are happy to have a wide range of sponsors and exhibitors, 16 in total.  Our Premium sponsor, Milkground, is coming all the way from China representing Hainan Xinzhishi Food Technology. We have two Gold sponsors – Bentley Instruments and the main dairy processor in Norway, TINE – and in addition two silver sponsors, Brazzale from Italy and the National Development Board of India. Also, there are several minor, but still important sponsors from different global companies: DSM Fermenisch, St. Paul, Bioeasy, Charm Sciences, Fonterra, Tetra Pak, DMK Deutsches Milchkontor , Q-Interline, IFCN, QualiTru Sampling Systems and Kavli. A total of 8 exhibitors will be present in Bergen during the event, and we are very grateful for all the support. As Norway is a high-cost country the contribution from sponsors, exhibitors and supporters helps us to make a memorable event that is affordable to attend.  In addition, we must mention all the support from the Norwegian University of Life Science and the Norwegian Dairy Council.

  1. Why Bergen?

Bergen is one of the most well-known and beautiful cities in Norway and a place many would like to travel to from abroad. It is quite a small, but unique city, by the sea and surrounded by “the Seven Mountains”.  It is often called the capital of the west coast of Norway. It was founded in 1070 A.D. by one of the famous Viking kings of Norway – Olav Kyrre. Placed by the sea it is a typical trade and shipping city, and the wharf with its iconic wooden trade houses is on the UNESCO world heritage list. Every year cruise ships, and other tourists travel to Bergen to enjoy its beauty. When IDF Cheese 2024 is starting, Bergen is at the end of a famous annual classical music festival – “Festspillene”. We will recommend a concert if you arrive before the Symposium starts with a welcome reception in the evening of June 3.

  1. What are the main takeaways that you would like attendees to leave with?

We think the main takeaway from this symposium will be the focus that the cheese industry has on sustainability and innovation in all aspects, both with regards to production and packaging. There is an increased interest in the microorganisms present in milk and cheese as well as the importance of milk quality for cheese production. And last but not least, the new focus on the cheese matrix both from a structural point of view but also from a nutritional point of view.

  1. Are you arranging a student gathering?

We have invited students from all over the world for a special event on the afternoon on Monday June 3, just before the Welcome reception. This is for the young scientists within our industry to get to know each other before the Symposium. We think this will contribute to stronger networking throughout the Symposium. There will be a lecture about how to improve the writing process of i.e. the thesis, in addition to the important mingling time.

  1. How can you register for the Symposium?

It is still time to join by register at . The opening is on Tuesday June 4 with an invitation from the municipalities of Bergen for a welcome reception on the night before, and we would urge you to join both the scientific program and the social events. We do hope this will be a memorable trip the participants would look back on for years.

Sebastian Dates

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