Aaron Brody, longtime editor of Food Technology’s Packaging column, passed away on July 26. Brody was world renowned in the field of food packaging technology, with a career that spanned positions with Raytheon, Birdseye, Whirlpool, M&M Mars, Arthur D. Little, Mead Packaging, and Container Corporation of America, as well as work as an independent consultant and professor and lecturer at many academic institutions.
While earning a BS in food technology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1951, Brody served on the team that helped develop the first frozen precooked foods, including fish sticks, for the Birdseye Fisheries Lab Division of General Foods. He subsequently served in the Korean War and later went on to earn a PhD from MIT’s Food Packaging Department in 1957.
During his career at Whirlpool, Brody led the development of a number of significant advances, including modified atmosphere packaging, an odor control system for refrigerators, and radiation pasteurization of foods. In addition to earning numerous patents, Brody authored dozens of books and articles on food packaging and food technology during his long career.
In 1988, IFT’s Food Packaging Division awarded Brody the Riester-Davis Award for Lifetime Achievement in Food Packaging; the award was later renamed the Food Packaging Award in Honor of Don Riester, Rees Davis, and Aaron Brody. Among other honors Brody received from IFT were the Industrial Scientist Award and, in recognition of his lifetime achievement, the Nicolas Appert Award.
In 1995, Brody was inducted into the Packaging Hall of Fame. He and his wife, Carolyn Brody, established the annual Distinguished Lecture in Food Packaging endowment at Michigan State University School of Packaging.
Claire Sand, contributing editor of Food Technology’s Packaging column, remembers Brody as a valuable mentor and friend. “To many colleagues, Aaron will be remembered as the ‘go-to’ food packaging expert who would provide the answer to any tough question. His answers were treasures in their nuances, complexity, and volume since he immediately understood and then got energized about the ramifications of the answer to the food packaging industry. The ensuing conversations fueled new research avenues, inventions, and continually refreshed the food packaging field.
“To his many mentees and friends, he asked tough, unrelenting questions. I was 25 when his analytical queries began and I, like many, will miss them. In this mentoring process, he saw the best in me and helped me work more effectively within what was a more male-dominated profession. His questions related to career and life choices and the stories he shared revealed his fierce devotion to his family, people, and the food packaging discipline.
“Aaron Brody’s many contributions to society, science, and food packaging serve as a model for what can be done to make the world a better place.”
IFT’s virtual event and solution exchange was packed with opportunities to learn, network, and engage with colleagues on how to solve some of the toughest questions facing the industry. Lively interactions in the sessions and social activities gave attendees a thought-provoking experience they won’t soon forget.
One of the biggest benefits for FIRST attendees is access to all recorded sessions and posters, as well as the opportunity to engage with solution suppliers through the end of 2021. For attendees who missed a scientific session or keynote speaker, now is the time to return to the FIRST platform and take advantage of the event’s all-access pass. For a sampling of some of the hot topics, go to iftfirst.org > Meetups > First Highlights and Insights. You’ll find articles covering a variety of sessions, including the following:
• Keynoter Ertharin Cousin offers stark, yet hopeful, assessment of zero hunger hurdles
• From Nobel Prize to NASA: Reimagining food production
• Why tapping into grassroots wisdom is so critical
• Science officers prioritize supply chain accessibility, affordability
• Building a better world with food science
• Technology enables a more sustainable agricultural future
• Tackling food waste with education, apps, and upcycling
• How consumer perceptions of ‘healthy’ influence what they buy
• Tracking the high protein trend
• Genomic science is breeding better animals, crops
In addition to the scientific sessions, this year’s event included a track called Business FIRST, which focused on the latest trends and business strategies. The FIRST Highlights & Insights page includes a look at the following sessions:
• SnapDNA is the 2021 IFTNEXT Food Disruptor
• Experts unpack conflicting consumer priorities, values, and demands
• Investors see continued upside for startups and agtech innovators
• Forecast panel predicts accelerated innovation to continue, post-pandemic
Have some news to share about yourself or another IFT member? Email [email protected].