What Is Food Science?

Food science is the field dedicated to getting food from the farm to your fork. Someone had to invent General Mills Cheerios, determine its nutritional content, and figure out how to get it to consumers.

According to the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT):

Food science is the study of the physical, biological, and chemical makeup of food; and the concepts underlying food processing. Food technology is the application of food science to the selection, preservation, processing, packaging, distribution, and use of safe food.

Food science draws from many disciplines such as biology, chemical engineering, and biochemistry in an attempt to better understand food processes and ultimately improve food products for the general public. As the stewards of the field, food scientists study the physical, microbiological, and chemical makeup of food. By applying their findings, they are responsible for developing the safe, nutritious foods and innovative packaging that line supermarket shelves everywhere.

The Institute of Food Technologists  is the largest organization of food professionals. It is a great resource for professionals and people just interested in the science of food.

Food scientists work in four main capacities:

  • Product Development: develop new foods and improve on existing foods
  • Quality Control: ensure that food is safe and meets company standards
  • Sensory Analysis: find out what consumers prefer
  • Research: expand the existing knowledge of food


For more information check out the Food Scientist category.