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What are the Primary Areas of Food Science?
New Product Development: Create new flavors, develop products that are more convenient, more nutritious, more fun. This means everything from winning an award for a new flavor of iced tea to developing a more nutritious cracker for children in a developing country.
Taste Panels: Work with consumers and trained experts to determine what's most desirable in a product. There's lots of interaction with people here—it's a highly valuable part of product development!
Understand the structure and function of foods and ingredients: Ensure product stability, consistent flavor and texture, ease of processing. This is where chemistry comes to life—instead of questions in a textbook, you answer real-world questions, like how to ensure an even distribution of peppermint flavor in breath mints, how to keep cereal crunchy in milk, or how to make a low-fat product seem like the real thing.
Make foods healthier: Add nutrients, lower fat content, increase fiber content—whatever the market demands.
Food Safety: Ensure that our food supply is safe—from initial storage through processing, transportation, and retail channels, until the consumer purchases the product—and beyond. Develop processes, monitor conditions, test foods for contamination.
Fermented Foods: Beverages, fermented dairy products, soy and vegetable fermentation. From wine to sauerkraut, from tofu to yogurt—add science to the art of preserving foods in this ancient, yet very modern method.
Packaging: Package foods in such a way that their shelf life is extended, flavor and nutrition is preserved, and that is convenient and appealing to the consumer.
Processing: Develop processes to ensure product quality and to maximize processing efficiency. From peeling peaches without bruising them to creating candy bars that are identical—it's the process engineers who design the processes and make them work.