Prof Hettie Schönfeldt, director of the African Research Universities Alliance (ARUA) Centre of Excellence for Food Security led by the University of Pretoria and holder of a Department of Science and Technology (DST)/National Research Foundation (NRF) South African Research Chairs Initiative chair (SARChl) in the National Development Plan Priority Area of Nutrition and Food Security was announced as the recipient of the distinguished Nevin Scrimshaw award lecture at the 13th International Food Data Conference held in Lisbon, Portugal.
Professor Schönfeldt received this prestigious biannual award for her contribution throughout her research career to generating unique country-specific data for the African region. She is only the 5th recipient of this award. Her work is published in peer review journals and taken up in regional, continent and international food data basis’s such as that of the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations. Since 1998, with the support of Nevin Scrimshaw, she started to strengthen the AFROFOODS network on the continent through meetings, training courses, conferences and workshop; raising awareness at all levels in order to build up a network of successful African scholars. She has participated in all 13 International Food Data Conferences since 2002.
She is an advocate for nutrition research, promoting excellence through the creation, translation and dissemination of science-based information into policies, programmes and training programmes both nationally, and internationally. Her focus is on affordable food diversity underpinned by nutrient composition and delivery. For the everyday person or consumer her research translates into reliable labelling on every food item packaged.
Professor Schönfeldt research career is devoted to linking nutrient quantity and quality of foods to sustainable food systems for attaining nutrition and food security for all. She and her team publish evidence on why country specific food composition data is essential to make it possible to interpret the dietary outcomes of countries.
Prof Schönfeldt says “I am truly honoured to be the recipient of this prestigious award. The fact that I was nominated by my peers, in recognition of what I have achieved in the field of food composition and analyses, is especially close to my heart. This serves as an inspiration for my task ahead.”