Food Science Degree Graduates on the Rise Increased Interest in all things “Foodie” and Positive Job Outlook Contribute to Growth

March 18, 2011

CHICAGO—The Food Network, celebrity chefs, diet-related health issues and a heightened awareness of contemporary food movements (organic, local and sustainable) appears to be translating into more college students choosing to major in food science.  On college campuses across the United States, undergraduate food science programs are showing substantial enrollment increases. An article in the March 2011 issue of Food Technology magazine, published by the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), shows that the total number of students graduating with B.S. degrees from IFT-approved food science programs in the U.S. has almost doubled from 319 in 2004 to 591 in 2010.  

John Floros, PhD, IFT member, professor and head of the Department of Food Science at Penn State University, who has seen enrollment in the program jump 40 percent over last year’s total, says that in addition to improved recruitment of high school students by IFT and university food science departments, enrollment increases can also be attributed to an increased interest in food in general. 

Furthermore, jobs for food science graduates are plentiful and the starting salaries are excellent—even in a difficult economic climate. “Having a food science degree will practically guarantee you a job,” added Floros.  Both parents and students are recognizing the importance of graduating with a degree that promises solid career potential.

Food science faculty members report that employers are seeking a well-rounded skill set that includes more than solid technical expertise.  Employers want to see leadership, communication and team-building skills from recent graduates. In response, universities are adjusting their programs accordingly to encourage students to take advantage of internships and professional organizations, such as the Institute of Food Technologist Student Association (IFTSA), to develop these skills.  The article also notes that many food science students are highly motivated to learn about nutrition and healthful foods formulation so that they can eventually help decrease the prevalence of diet-related health issues within the U.S. and around the world.

Learn More about the Food Science Profession

Discovery Education
IFT offers a wide variety of educational resources for teachers, professionals, and students of all ages at http://bit.ly/frLAMN. In addition, IFT, Feeding Tomorrow: the Foundation of the Institute of Food Technologists, and Discovery Education partnered to develop a unique program, designed to introduce high school students, teachers, counselors, and parents to the remarkable world of food science and technology, and the exciting career opportunities in the field.  Browse the site for downloadable videos, profiles of professional food scientists, lesson materials and experiments, information about colleges and scholarships, and more.

“A Day in the Life of a NASA Food Scientist” Video
IFT produced a video titled “A Day in the Life of a NASA Food Scientist.” The award-winning video follows IFT member and author of a Journal of Food Science study in this month’s issue that cites food science challenges for NASA missions to Mars , Michele Perchonok, Advanced Food Technology Manager at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and members of the food science team in Houston, Texas, as they conduct their work in the Space Food Systems Laboratory. Through interviews with scientists, they convey how food science plays a critical role in ensuring that astronauts have safe, healthy and nutritious foods during current missions to space and how their work will contribute to future efforts to reach Mars. View the video at http://bit.ly/aT3AiD.


Information from this press release used for online, print, or broadcast content must be attributed to Food Technology magazine, a publication of the Institute of Food Technologists.  Read the full article:  http://www.ift.org/food-technology/past-issues/2011/march/features/food-science-flourishes-on-campus.aspx

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