In 1991, the Conference of Food Engineering (CoFE) was developed by Martin Okos together with AIChE. CoFE has been held approximately biennially ever since. Over the years, CoFE was made part of the AIChE Annual Meeting. Since 2005, the decision was made to organize CoFE independently of larger organizations. It was then organized successfully by volunteer groups in 2009, 2013, 2014.
Rationale and Formation
The demand for an independent food engineering meeting is significant, and international in scope.
The need for a food engineering meeting or organization is compelling, because the food industry hires a large number of engineers. Regardless of their background (chemical, food or agricultural engineering), there is a need for continuing education for these individuals.
In 2016, at a CoFE held in Columbus, Ohio, it was agreed that in order for CoFE is to be sustainable, a dues-paying, inclusive and representative organization would be needed. This resulted in the formation of an Organization Transition Team at the end of CoFE 2016, with the membership comprised of all those attending CoFE 2016. Thereafter, the membership voted to name the organization as the Society of Food Engineering (SoFE). The title was adopted, and SoFE was officially registered as a not-for-profit organization in the State of Ohio on August 2, 2017.
The purpose of the Society of Food Engineering (SoFE) is the advancement of food engineering. Food Engineering is defined broadly here as the engineering science and practice involved in operations pertaining to the food and ancillary industries, its suppliers and consumers. The object shall be promoted by (a) meetings, in particular, the Conference of Food Engineering; (b) promotion of funding for food engineering research in academia; (c) development of educational criteria and programming in food engineering; (d) outreach to industry, government and other groups; and (e) other appropriate and legal means.