Mini-symposium: Fats for the future

20-06-2019 van 14:00 tot 18:00
Auditorium E2, building E, Faculty of Bioscience Engineering, Coupure Links 653, Ghent
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Vandemoortele Centre Lipid Science and Technology
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6 years ago Vandemoortele and Ghent University joined forces and founded the Vandemoortele Centre Lipid Science and Technology.

During this mini-symposium new insights will be discussed with respect to structure-function relationships of lipids in different kind of food matrices and how this can result in real product innovations. Moreover, attention will be given on how to approach open innovation and to face major sustainability goals.


14:00 - Welcome and opening by Prof. Koen Dewettinck (UGent)

14:10 - Shaping a tasty future with healthier fats by Jules Noten (CEO Vandemoortele)

14:40 - Open Innovation Concepts: Solutions for Collaborating with Early Stage Start-Ups by Dr. Olaf Gruess (General Mills)

15:25 - Coffee Break

15:55 - Possible health effects of lipid-based food microstructures by Prof. Amanda Wright (University of Guelph)

16:40 - Vandemoortele Centre ‘Lipid Science and Technology’ Research by Prof. Filip Van Bockstaele (Ghent University)

17:20 - Closure by Dr. Bart Bruyneel (Managing Director Margarines, Culinary Oils & Fats Vandemoortele)

17:30 – Reception


  • Mr. Jules Noten (CEO Vandemoortele Group)


Jules Noten studied at KU Leuven and at Vlekho Brussels. Later he took courses at Kellogg Business School (Northwestern University) and Harvard Business School. He built an international career at Unilever (Liption ice Tea, Magnum, Becel, Solo, Knorr, Unox) for 18 years. Afterwards he moved to Massive as Chairman Unilever Belgium. Under his leadership, the lighting company realized strong growth thanks to acquisitions and its own production platform was expanded in China. At the beginning of 2009, Mr. Noten started as CEO of the Balta Group, active in floor covering (broadloom carpet, carpet, laminate). Balta has a leading position in floor textiles in Europe. Since August 2012, Jules Noten has been active at Vandemoortele, first as managing director of Bakery Products, later as CEO. (turnover € 1.4 billion, 5200 employees in 14 countries).

  • Dr. Olaf Gruess (General Mills)


Universities are providing the perfect breeding-ground for entrepreneurial students. From offering specific entrepreneurship programs to pitching sessions, dedicated work spaces, labs and supporting networks. In parallel, pitching sessions at industrial incubators and outstanding programs at start-up friendly, public accelerators are then providing the support these young entrepreneurs need to become a start-up company. That also illustrates the case for the industry that potential, future “new hires” are being educated to become entrepreneurs. How is the industry reacting? What are companies doing to accommodate those new hires? How are companies reacting to an increased pool of competitors in form of early start-ups? What type of tools could help?

Changing to a more entrepreneurial mindset is critical to the success of corporations in any business category, including the food industry. Open innovation concepts of “Inside-Out”, “Outside-In”, “Coupled Process” and the newly developed concept of “Enabled Supply” can help to adopt the entrepreneurial mindset across the organization and most of all generate revenue and grow the business.


Dr. Olaf Gruess has over 19 years of experience at General Mills, leading new product development (baked goods, yogurt, cereal bars, shelf stable and frozen meals) and strategic research initiatives (sodium reduction technology, taste perception), as well as roles in Marketing, Connected Innovation and early start-up evaluation.

He received his master’s degree in Nutrition and Food Science from the University of Bonn, Germany and the University of Ghent, Belgium, as well as a Ph.D. in Food Science from the University of Bonn, Germany. Currently he is focusing on identifying technologies externally and developing implementation strategies for those technologies into the broader organization.

Gruess has also created and implemented a novel Open Innovation concept by incubating internal technologies together with potential external partners. Gruess serves as a judge and mentor at MassChallenge, the world’s most start-up friendly accelerator and at the European Food Venture Forum; he was on the Industrial Board of the Integrative Food and Nutrition Center at the EPFL in Lausanne, Switzerland and serves on the Scientific Advisory Board of the German Institute for Food Technology (DIL).

  • Prof. Amanda Wright (University of Guelph)


There remains keen interest in understanding how dietary lipids contribute to health and disease and how to respect this knowledge while achieving functionality in food products. At the same time, the gastrointestinal tract behaviour of lipid-based food microstructures can influence their digestion and absorption.

This leads to many interesting questions at the food-nutritional sciences interface. For example, could solid fat content help to explain some of the apparent inconsistencies related to saturated fats? What role do ingredient interactions in the gastrointestinal milieu play in determining lipid-related metabolic outcomes? What are the consequences of tailoring emulsion colloidal stability for appetite regulation?

This talk aims to whet your appetite by highlighting some of the relationships between food lipid microstructure, digestibility, and metabolic response, drawing on evidence from in vitro digestion and human study experiments.


Amanda is an Associate Professor in the Department of Human Health & Nutritional Sciences, College of Biological Sciences at the University of Guelph, Canada. She joined the faculty in 2005 after undergraduate food science training and completing a PhD in Food Chemistry (role of minor components in milk fat crystallization – A.G. Marangoni, University of Guelph) and a Post Doctoral Fellowship in Chemical Engineering & Applied Chemistry (catalysis for low trans partial hydrogenation – L.L. Diosady, University of Toronto).

Amanda’s expertise lies in interdisciplinary food-nutrition research and she has particular interest in topics related to dietary lipid structure and nutritional functionality. She has held funding from Canada’s Natural Sciences & Engineering Research Council for work in this area since 1998.

Amanda also leads diverse human nutrition studies in her role as Director of the university’s Human Nutraceutical Research Unit (HNRU). The HNRU is a research and educational group dedicated to advancing evidence-based foods and natural health products through human studies and collaborative partnerships. In this capacity, Amanda is proud to provide experiential learning opportunities to many undergraduate and graduate students each year. She is convinced that applying a food structure lens and focusing on processes in the digestive environment can help to clarify some of the nuances about how dietary lipid consumption contributes to health and disease. When not devoted to this cause, Amanda can be found hanging out around southwestern Ontario with her sons and husband.

  • Prof. Filip Van Bockstaele (Ghent University)


Oils and fats are an important component in the human diet as they are major constituents of various food products which are used on a daily basis including spreads, dairy products, chocolate, ice-cream and bakery products.

Limiting the saturated fatty acid (SAFA) consumption forms the basis of many dietary guidelines for health as there is evidence that cutting down the saturated fatty acids and replacing it by unsaturated one, reduces the serum cholesterol and leads to a reduction in the risk of CVD.  However, this tremendously impacts the functionality of the fat phase in structure development, texture, mouthfeel and consumer appreciation of the food product.

The challenge is thus to develop fat-rich foods containing less saturated fats while retaining many of the quality characteristics historically associated with that particular food. Moreover, especially for industrial margarines, certain functionalities are required for further processing into bakery applications, for example plasticity of a margarine which is necessary to produce laminated dough systems.

A prerequisite for science-driven reformulation is a thorough understanding of the structure-function relationship from nano- and mesoscale level up to macroscale and even sensory appreciation. Since 2012, the Vandemoortele Centre research has focused on alternative routes for oil structuring to achieve SAFA-reduction for industrial margarine applications. The highlights of the research will be shown and a prospect on the ongoing and future research will be given.


Filip has been appointed as director of the Vandemoortele Centre since October 2018. He combines this with a part-time position as assistant professor in the Department of Food Technology, Safety and Health.

He obtained his PhD in Applied Biological Sciences in 2011 at Ghent University (Changes in rheology and microstructure of bread dough) under the supervision of promotors Koen Dewettinck and Mia Eeckhout.

After obtaining the PhD, he started in a post-doc position at the Laboratory of Cereal and Feed Technology, being involved in many food technology courses, guiding bachelor and master students, setting up PhD research, collaborating with industry and starting international collaborations in the framework of development cooperation.

The research expertise is mainly situated in the bakery science and technology domain mainly covering wheat flour quality, application of alternative cereals, ingredient interactions  and shelf life extension of bakery products. Part of the research was also focused on the functionality of fats in bakery applications such as cake and cookies.


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