Today dr. Stefano Renzetti, Senior Scientist at Wageningen Food & Biobased Research, The Netherlands, has received the bi-annual Harald Perten Prize 2018. The prize was given to him during the 19th International Association for Cereal Science and Technology (ICC) Conference 'Science meets technology' in Vienna, Austria. Renzetti receives praise for his skills to help industry to methodically translate fundamental science into consumer products.
The Harald Perten Prize, a plaque and honorarium of up to $ 5,000, is an acknowledgement of a scientist's outstanding achievements in cereal science and technology, research, teaching or transmission of knowledge.
Renzetti says he is grateful for this important recognition of his work by the cereal science community: "When looking at previous winners, I'm humbled and honoured to be ranked among them. Much of the applied research we conduct for our industrial partners cannot be published due to confidentiality. I'm thankful that this type of work is duly noted by the ICC."
Renzetti was warmly recommended for the prize by both industry and academia. They emphasize that dr. Renzetti ticks all the boxes of the prize description.
Corporate Director Quality, Procurement and R&D of a company active worldwide in the indulgent and natural snacking segment: "The aims in a sugar replacement project were fully reached, even for the most challenging targets of full sugar replacement. Thanks to the mechanistic insights generated in the project, Dr. Renzetti led the team to the development of science-based quantitative models for an integral redesign of cake formulations." He adds that this works contributes to market successes.
Professor Bruce Hamaker of Purdue University in West Lafayette, USA, comments: "Stefano has a very valuable training and ability to develop fundamental knowledge and theories and then, in a quantitative way, to bring these to practical applications. This is a quite rare set of skills that is more important today than ever before."
Ir. Kees den Uijl, chair of a consortium including Avebe, Lamb Weston / Meijer and Royal Euroma, extols those skills as critical for the success of a project focused on the development of gluten-free clean label coatings.
Professors of Biochemistry Francesco Bonomi and Stefania Iametti mention an additional skill when they refer to Renzetti's courses at the University of Milan: "His seminars were highly successful and very stimulating. We are regarding Dr. Renzetti as a brilliant, enthusiastic and innovative investigator in our field."
Speeding up innovation
Renzetti hopes the prize will further stimulate collaboration between the WUR and international parties in academia and industry. "We live in an era of health-oriented food reformulation to reduce sugar, salt and fat and to boost fiber content. Our field of bakery products and other foods with cereal components contributes significantly to that trend."
One of Renzetti's 'secrets' is to learn from fundamental polymer chemistry. "Food product development is often still a matter of trial and error. My Wageningen colleagues and I work on developing quantitative approaches to food formulation design based on a fundamental understanding of the underlying mechanisms of ingredient interactions within a food matrix, which allow us to predict end product quality. These approaches speed up industrial innovation for the sake of healthier food considerably. For the future, we aim at integrating the technological aspects with the health and physiological effects of the reformulated food. Such a holistic approach could allow the design of sensory attractive food which contribute to the well-being of consumers".