Many may ask why food science is important? Food Science has a hand in every product that is consumed. I’d like to hit a few highlights that may unveil why we need food science within the industry.
The world has progressed through hunter-gatherer, agricultural, and industrial stages to being a provider of goods and services. Along the way, our reliance on a stable food supply has increased dramatically. This started with the domestication of plants and animals in order to feed our ever growing population which has now reach nearly 7 billion! The majority of the population are no longer connected to their food nor are they familiar with general agriculture production practices that make food so readily available. Funny how things always seem back to agriculture.
The commitment of food science and technology professionals is to advance the science of food, all the while ensuring a safe and abundant food supply and contributing to a healthier people everywhere. The research involved with the food industry encompasses many different disciplines including but not limited to the American farmer, biotechnologists, chemists, geneticists, microbiologists, nutritionists, sensory scientists all the way down to grocers.
It’s pretty amazing how far the food industry has come throughout the years. Not only can consumers drive up to a window for a quick meal, but have the choice of purchasing a huge array of shelf-stable foods that were not available 100+ years ago (many 15-20 years ago). Food scientists have made huge advances in preservation, so food is readily available, microbial control, to inhibit the growth of pathogens and micro organisms to ensure a safe food supply and genetics so yields are higher so it takes less land to feed more people. This is imperative with today’s ever growing population.
Food processing and science have evolved to make food the basis of a healthy civilization, help society overcome hunger and disease, and improve safety, nutrition, convenience, affordability and availability of foods.
I challenge you to take a look next time you are in the grocery store and think about where your favorite product comes from. Think about what was involved in making your favorite product and all of the testing and efforts that were conducted to ensure the safety, healthfulness, and wholesomeness of that product. Not only thank a farmer next time you see them but thank a food scientist as well.