The Microwave Technologies Association: A brief synopsis
The Microwave Technologies Association was originally founded in the UK back in 1978 as a trade organisation called ‘The Microwave Association’. It was made up of a range of interested parties including some of the microwave oven manufacturers of the time, with an aim to better promote the understanding of this new cooking method. As the market developed, so the MTA changed to meet the demands and needs of the day – and added the word ‘Technologies’ to its title. The MTA acts to bridge the gap between scientific knowledge and educating and advising the public.
Today, the MTA has a thriving membership comprising of major companies and qualified individual consultants and specialists. Members include those involved with both the domestic and commercial aspects of microwave appliances, including food packaging and microwave oven manufacturers, retailers, educators, journalists, service technicians, home economists and scientists.
Since it was formed, the MTA has been at the forefront of all major issues relating to the use and development of microwave products. It is represented on government and national committees, including British Electro-technical Committee, The Food Standards Agency and our technical microwave expert – Greg Hooper represents the UK on the BSI and IEC committees. The executive members represent all members on all of these committees as well as having links with the Consumer Association and an affiliation with all the electrical trade organisations together with related Associations both at home and abroad including The International Microwave Power Institute (IMPI) , The Association of Manufacturers of Domestic and Electrical Appliances (AMDEA), The Association for Microwave Power in Europe for Research and Education (AMPERE) and the Domestic Appliance Service Association (DASA).
The aim of the Association is for members to exchange knowledge and experience and to continuously update their technical expertise. In doing so, they encourage consumers, training and educational establishments, the media, and all bodies engaged in the use, instruction and marketing of microwaves and associated products to be fully and correctly informed on technical and future developments. Much time is devoted to better educating the public, examples include;
- Radio Presentations with the BBC and BBC’s associated local radio stations
- TV appearances - including ‘BBC One’s – ‘The One Show’, ‘Rip off Britain – Food’, Sky TV’s – Market Kitchen, and many more
- Answering consumers questions - many replies are sent each week through the ‘Contact Us’ tab on the MTA’s website. These include answers to questions such as ‘Why is my oven going rusty’, ‘Are more nutrients really retained in microwave cooked food than when cooked conventionally’, ‘Can I boil an egg in the microwave oven’, ‘Can I use foil in the microwave oven’ etc.,
- Responding to misleading or incorrect media news or claims.
- The ‘network’ of members supports each other from the food product development end of the scale to the technological end where members are actually involved in the design and consulting manufacture of new models of ovens and even oven servicing.
- Three Members meetings are held during the year at various venues and a newsletter is published four times a year, with each newsletter identifying a specific topic. Issues have included articles on ‘myth busting’, ‘foods or products you should never cook, re-heat or warm in a microwave oven’, ‘thermal processing and safety issues’, ‘domestic or commercial – which one to choose’, ‘solid state technology’ – the list goes on.
The Association provides a network for its members, together with opportunities for learning and interaction about all aspects of our industry. The more members there are involved, the more powerful our organisation can become. Our very successful website also shows that consumers visit the site frequently, where they have easy access and direct links to members own websites sites for sales, customer service, repairs and servicing etc.,
Our Information Service receives and responds to some 500 plus calls and e-mails every year as well as providing the information via fact sheets on the website, which has often received over 85,000 ‘hits’ in a twelve-month period. These queries and requests for information and advice come from government departments, various members of the general public, the press and hospitals as well as lots from students and education establishments.
All the Officers of the MTA are experts in their field and as such are able to quash potential scare stories, some times even before they even reach the media. One example of this was when a national tabloid newspaper featured a small microwave cancer story. Our Information Officer received numerous calls from members of the press. Having established the dubious source of the claims, a balanced factual reply staved off misinformed media coverage. This is another valuable service provided by the Microwave Technologies Association, which is funded entirely by members and their subscriptions.
Microwave cooking is a 21st century cooking method, consumers are yet to understand its many capabilities and make use of it to cook proper meals. They are still sadly seeing a microwave oven as another kitchen gadget, to heat that occasional cup of coffee in or warm baked beans.
Our aspirations for the future? How can we get our message across to the 95% plus of consumers that have a microwave oven in their homes?
How do we attract more members so that our Association can be more proactive?
Microwave ovens are here to stay.
They are an environmentally friendly cooking method – using up to 85% less energy to cook food in compared with conventional ovens, whilst also retaining up to 85% more nutrients in food, compared with food cooked conventionally.
They are convenient, safe, efficient, easy to keep clean and easy to use. The MTA continues to promote these advantages as we attempt to grow our membership and provide all consumers world-wide with this positive information.
As a company, Microwave Service Company Ltd. we have been members of The Microwave Technologies Association for many years.