NI food chief elected UK body’s vice president

Northern Ireland food boss Michael Bell has been elected vice president of The Institute of Food Science and Technology (IFST) in a landslide victory.

At the organisation’s annual general meeting, Bell – who is best known in the region as executive director of the Northern Ireland Food and Drink Association (NIFDA) – received over 70% of the member vote.

The two-year role will see him join the leadership of IFST, the UK’s leading professional body for those involved in all aspects of food science and technology.

It follows a series of senior appointments for Bell, who is also chairman of the Northern Ireland Agricultural Research and Development Council (AgriSearch) and an elected member of the Northern Ireland Assembly Business Trust.

‘Challenging and exciting times’

“I very much look forward to supporting our members across the UK during my tenure,” he said.

“The institute’s core aim is the advancement of food science and technology based on impartial science and knowledge sharing.

We currently find ourselves in one of the most exciting, challenging times for the agri-food sector in recent history, where the need for information sharing and research has never been more urgent.

“As we plan for the changes ahead, the work of the institute will be of paramount importance to the industry and I am committed to helping shape it during this pivotal time.”

Track record

Bell has more than three decades’ experience in the food industry. Before joining NIFDA he worked in the bakery trade in Northern Ireland and Malta for 12 years.

During this period he worked closely with major retailers and managed to join the senior management board of Ormeau Bakery.

He is also a chartered scientist and a fellow of the Institute of Food Science and Technology. He holds a diploma in company directorship from the Institute of Directors.

Bell has been instrumental in the development of NIFDA since its foundation in 1996. For 10 years he was involved in developing Northern Ireland Food Chain Certification and, in 2004, he assisted the merging of Taste of Ulster into NIFDA.