Food Science involves the application of scientific principles in the development and supply of safe, nutritious and affordable food. Food scientists have been involved in the development of many novel food products that are now freely available in shops, e.g. long-life milk, frozen and canned foods, snack foods and ready-to-eat meals. Food scientists are trained to meet the challenge of developing and supplying foods that comply with the ever-changing demands of the modern consumer. Just as importantly, food scientists lead the fight against hunger and malnutrition through the development of affordable, nutritious foods. Examples are instant weaning porridges and vitamin- and mineral-fortified staple foods.
A food scientist must be knowledgeable about the chemical composition, structure and nutritional value of food, food processing and preservation techniques, and the chemical, physical and biological changes that occur in food during processing, preservation and storage.
The food industry is South Africa’s largest manufacturing industry, and a degree in Food Science is your stepping stone to various exciting and challenging careers. The multidisciplinary nature of the Food Science courses, as well as exposure to the industry (visits to food factories, practical work in the Department’s pilot plants), allow Food Science graduates to pursue a large variety of careers in the food and the food-related industries, based on each individual’s personal interests.
The interface between food science, nutrition and health is an area of increasing concern to consumers, government and the food industry. There is an increase in consumer awareness of the impact of diet and the foods we consume on health-related diseases and well-being. Government recognises the multifactorial causes of hunger and malnutrition in our region and is committed to addressing this issue. Since consumers rely on the food industry to provide healthy, nutritious, safe and high-quality processed foods, food scientists and nutritionists employed by food and related industries will play an increasingly important role in the future to ensure that consumers have access to safe, high-quality foods that are nutritionally beneficial.
The 4th annual ExtruAfrica conference and training seminar was organised at the Roots Lifestyle Centre, Potchefstroom from 5 to 8 August 2014. The conference was attended by researchers, academia, government departments, industry players and students.
Dr Patrick Njage of the Department of Food Science at UP and postdoctoral fellow of the Institute for Food, Nutrition and Well-being (IFNuW), was a recipient of the International Union of Food Science and Technology's (IUFoST) Young Scientist Award for 2014. Alongside seven other outstanding young food scientists from across the world, Njage received the award at the IUFoST’s 17th World Congress of Food Science and Technology (World Food Congress), held in Montreal, Canada from 17 to 21 August.
The Food Science student society of the University of Pretoria (TuksFost) organised a seminar on food labelling and advertising regulations on 1 August, 2014. The seminar was presented by Mr Nigel Sunley, an extra-ordinary lecturer in the Department of Food Science (UP).