NATICK, Mass. -- The U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center's Combat Feeding Directorate hosted Food Science & Industry Day on Oct. 27.

"Food Science & Industry Day provides an opportunity for the Combat Feeding Directorate to showcase current research and development efforts to our industrial and academic partners," said Jeremy Whitsitt, deputy director, CFD.

Throughout the day, members of industry/academia and CFD project officers discussed areas of interest, developing technologies and future goals. Attendees toured CFD's unique facilities and participated in technology demonstrations. They also learned how to conduct business with the government and about the challenges inherent in developing rations and equipment for the warfighter, who often operates in remote locations under austere conditions.

"CFD Industry Day is a great day for all of CFD's industry and government partners to see everything we are working on and to get the big picture of how everything fits together, including how their particular mission and job fits in with ours," said Jill Bates, CFD food technologist, Sensory Evaluation. "It also allows many of us to put faces with names of those we have worked closely with but may have not met yet in person."

The day underscored CFD's commitment to using science and engineering, as well as collaboration with academia and industry, to provide the warfighter with good-tasting food that provides optimal nutrition. CFD's expertise include applied nutrition and biochemistry; food engineering preservation and stabilization; food protection, defense and microbiology; food service equipment engineering; food packaging and polymer science; and product development, technical evaluation and ration design.

Peter Lavigne, a chemical engineer on CFD's Equipment and Energy Technology Team and one of the day's many presenters, discussed CFD's development of high efficiency appliances and the importance of fostering collaboration.

"This venue provided a unique opportunity to demonstrate innovative technologies that we are exploring to meet the needs of our military customers and foster potential collaborative opportunities spanning the interests and expertise of our industry partners," said Lavigne. "The development of high efficiency appliances, to include a multi-function, water-heating appliance, raised a number of observations and comments that highlighted the benefits that we aim to address with these technologies."

At the heart of Food Science & Industry Day is CFD's ongoing commitment to improving the lives and performance of the nation's warfighters.

"CFD Industry day benefits the warfighter by fostering partnerships between government and industry to continuously provide new technologies and ration products to our warfighters," said Bates.

"Operational ration and expeditionary food equipment R&D is truly a collaborative effort," said Whitsitt. "Without the knowledge and capabilities of our external partners, we would be unable to improve quality of life for our warriors. This venue fosters communication and awareness which, in turn, promotes innovation and synergy."

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The U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center is part of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, which has the mission is to provide innovative research, development and engineering to produce capabilities that provide decisive overmatch to the Army against the complexities of the current and future operating environments in support of the joint warfighter and the nation. RDECOM is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Materiel Command.