Food scientists and technologists use chemistry, biology, and other sciences to study the basic elements of food. They analyze the nutritional content of foods, discover new food sources, and research ways to make processed foods safe and healthy. Food science is the study of the physical, biological, and chemical composition of foods and the concepts that underlie food processing. Food technology is the application of food science to the selection, preservation, processing, packaging, distribution and use of safe foods.
In the food processing industry, you'll need a bachelor's degree in food science, agricultural science, or a similar specialization. Entry-level research positions typically require a master's degree, while senior research positions need a doctorate. Appropriate courses include classes on food processing operations, food laws and regulations, food microbiology, food analysis, chemistry, and food engineering. Food science is a multidisciplinary field that includes chemistry, biochemistry, nutrition, microbiology and engineering to provide the scientific knowledge needed to solve real problems associated with the many facets of the food system.
The basis of the discipline lies in understanding the chemistry of the components of foods, such as proteins, carbohydrates, fats and water, and the reactions they undergo during their processing and storage. A thorough knowledge of processing and preservation methods is required, including drying, freezing, pasteurization, canning, irradiation and extrusion, to name just a few. The ability to perform analysis of food components is developed together with statistical methods of quality control. The microbiological and safety aspects of food must also be understood.
Other topics covered include food additives, the physicochemical properties of foods, flavor chemistry, product development, food engineering and packaging. Food science integrates this extensive knowledge and focuses it on food. For example, if you work in the area of quality control, your job is to monitor food production and ensure that food processing processes are working properly. Food scientists typically conduct research on food science and then report their findings at industry conferences and seminars.
Most curricula offer a variety of professions including quality control, food safety, sensory analysis, food chemistry, food analysis, food law, food law, food engineering, packaging, processing, and product development. Here you'll learn how to use machines and chemicals to break down food into its basic components and measure its contents. This growing dependence of society on ready-to-eat foods has led processors to assume greater responsibility in terms of quality, safety and nutrition. They partner with engineers and food producers to test food safety and assess compliance with health guidelines.
When advising on how to develop nutrition programs, food scientists study additives and preservatives to ensure that the nutritional value of foods is not compromised. For example, some food scientists work as consultants, from a home office and going to a laboratory or food center as needed. You'll also analyze foods to determine the amount of nutrients, sugars, vitamins, and fats they contain so that manufacturers can label them correctly. I've taken an incredible baking science course and my friends have taken subjects such as fermentation, meat processing, winemaking and cheesemaking as one of their elective subjects.
To become a food scientist, you can get a job at a center that deals with food or specialize in food science at a university. .