Knowledge for a sustainable world

Authors: Keith I Tomlins

Keith Tomlins, Professor of Food Science at the Natural Resources Institute of the University of Greenwich will be giving his Inaugural Professorial Lecture 'Let Them Eat Cake: Food Quality and Acceptance in Africa' on Wednesday, 12 June 2013. All are welcome.

'Let them eat cake', said by Marie Antoinette during the reign of Louis XVI, acquired great symbolic importance as an indication of people in power being out of touch with the reality of life faced by poor people. In his lecture, Keith will be exploring how resource-poor people can and should have access to foods of the right quality that are also acceptable to their culture.

Keith read Food Science and Nutrition at the University of Surrey in 1981, and joined the Natural Resources Institute as a food scientist in 1987 where he worked on food flavours and post-harvest processing of tea, coffee and cocoa in Africa. This included living for two and half years in Malawi as a processing scientist in an experimental tea factory. More recently he has become an international expert on tropical root and tuber crops.

He currently manages a number of research projects with partners in the UK, USA, Europe, Africa, Asia, Caribbean, South America and the Pacific.

In much of the developing world, the focus of agricultural research has been to ensure there is enough food to eat. A key driver of food intake is quality and acceptability because people everywhere are very particular about the food they eat.

In this lecture Keith will look at the preferences of low-income consumers in African communities and consider ways in which these can support plant breeding, and be altered by food processing. He will explore issues of food quality in agricultural market chains. He will also examine whether new biofortified food crops target all vulnerable consumers, how children's and adult's preferences differ, and the impact of cultural differences on food acceptability. His greatest hope is that all people have access to food of good quality that is also acceptable within their specific cultures.

Event information
Time: Lecture begins at 6.00pm, tea and coffee will be served from 5.30pm.
Venue: PK008, Pilkington Lecture Theatre, Medway Campus.
The lecture will be followed by refreshments, during which time Professor Tomlins will be available to discuss his work.

To book a place please contact: Heather McAvoy-Marshall, extension 3911 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Closing date for booking: Wednesday, 05 June 2013.

For further information, please download the promotional flyer HERE