UNSW food security expert elected to prestigious international academy


Johannes le Coutre headshot

Professor Johannes le Coutre joins the esteemed International Academy of Food Science & Technology as one of its newest Fellows.

Louise Templeton
Louise Templeton,

Professor Johannes le Coutre has been recognised for his leadership and research into innovative food sources to feed a growing population.

UNSW Sydney Professor Johannes le Coutre has been elected a Fellow of the International Academy of Food Science & Technology (IAFoST) for his outstanding accomplishments and contributions to the global food industry.

IAFoST is as an integral part of the International Union of Food Science & Technology (IUFoST), which is the key international advisory body on food science and food security. IUFoST has a standing invitation to make recommendations to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

Prof. le Coutre expressed his gratitude for the recognition.

“It’s a great honour to be elected a Fellow of this prestigious and highly impactful organisation. The IUFoST is fully dedicated to the advancement of food science and technology and to bringing experts together to help solve some of our most pressing societal challenges relating to human sustenance.”

UNSW Dean of Engineering Professor Julien Epps congratulated Prof. le Coutre on his election.

“Johannes is a visionary in food security. He’s dedicated to creating innovative ways to ensure that food production is ethical, accessible and sustainable – for everyone – into the future.

“His election to the IUFosT is a testament to the enormous respect he commands in the international food community, which values his extensive experience, insights and advice on how we can ensure we can feed the global population as it proliferates.”

Developing alternative proteins to provide food security

Prof. le Coutre is an expert in food and health at UNSW’s School of Chemical Engineering, where he is responsible for the University’s Food program. Currently, his team is working on cellular agriculture, which involves producing food that conventionally comes from animals – but without those animals. He aims to develop novel technologies that produce alternative proteins, which he hopes will alleviate the agricultural burden on the environment and strengthen global food security.

“Current food systems around the globe cannot provide sustainable food security, which is defined as the availability of sufficient, safe, and nutritious food at all times for all people. Obviously, proper nutrition should also meet their food preferences and dietary needs. Global issues such as extreme weather events, geopolitical conflict and pandemics are threatening our ability to achieve this goal,” Prof. le Coutre said.

“This is why we need rigorous scientific investigation to deliver innovation for agriculture and the food industry.

“I believe we will still be eating meat in 30 years’ time, although less of the meat being consumed will come from livestock,” he said.

“There are simply not enough cows on this planet to meet the projected food production demands and we can’t ignore the looming environmental challenges posed by the agriculture and the food industry.

“We’re going to need to change what we eat and how we grow it over the next two decades so we can diversify our sources of protein.”

Before he arrived at UNSW in 2019, Prof. le Coutre spent 19 years at Nestlé in Switzerland, where he conceptualised and spearheaded the company’s ‘taste physiology’ research program. He initiated various large-scale global research projects, and his work has been recognised with several R&D awards.

A sought-after expert on food security, he often advises policymakers and provides media commentary about the topic in Australia.

He is a scientific fellow of Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) and the founding Field Chief Editor for FRONTIERS in Nutrition, the leading open access journal in the field.

Prof. le Coutre will be officially inducted into the IAFoST at its World Congress of Food Science and Technology in Rimini, Italy, in September. 

Media enquiries

For enquiries about this story or to arrange interviews, please contact Louise Templeton
Tel: +61 413 495 994
Email: louise.templeton@unsw.edu.au