- What is Food Science?
- What are food physics, food chemistry & food microbiology?
- Examples of using food science
- Who uses and when do you use food science?
- What is food technology?
- Studying food science
Ever wondered why your broccoli changes colour when it cooks? Ever wondered why your muffins didn’t work out? Or just curious to know why a recipe works? If so, you've been thinking about exactly that what a food scientist thinks about.
Food science aims to understand food from a science perspective, not focused on health & nutrition but instead looking at how food is made & prepared and why it’s done that way. Food science involves studying all sorts of processes involved in food, during harvesting, storage, packaging, preparation and consumption.
Some examples when studying apples:
- An apple turning brown (enzymatic browning)
- An apple turning soft when being cooked (breaking down of cellular structures)
- How to scale up applie pie production.
Physics, chemistry & (micro)biology of food
In school you’re taught the main sciences (physics, chemistry & biology), when looking into food science these same disciplines return:
- Food chemistry, studying the molecules in food and how they react (for example: caramelization)
- Food (micro)biology, focusing more on the microorganisms in our food than on the actual growing of the plant
- Food physics, looking into the physical properties of food (for example: foams, frozen or gaseous foods)
Examples of food science
- Example 1: French fries + mayonaise
- Mayonnaise is typical example of food physics being an oil-in-water emulsion. These normally split but mayonnaise does not, thanks to a physical phenomenon.
- The fact that you’re able to store a pot of mayonnaise at room temperature (before opening), has a lot to do with food microbiology.
- Frying french fries is food chemistry, starches react and your fries turns brown due to the Maillard reaction
- Example 2: Carrot cake
- The colours of carrot are pure food chemistry. They are made up by complex molecules.
- Baking the carrot cake will activate leavening agents (baking powder & baking soda), chemistry again.
- After some days of storage of the carrot cake, moulds may grow on it: food microbiology.
- If you then decide to whip up some cream to top off your carrot cake you end up in the field of food physics!
Who (can) use food science?
- A (small scale) food manufacturer: "I don't have a lot of food science expertise in my team, but I think it might help me solve some challenges we have." "I want to scale up from my kitchen into a real food production environment."