About Food Science and Technology

To help consumers make informed decisions about the food they eat, IFT has developed IFT Food Facts to provide consumers with news they can use in their daily lives.

What is Food Science?

  • Food science is the study of the physical, biological, and chemical makeup of food; the causes of food deterioration; and the concepts underlying food processing.
  • Food scientists and technologists apply scientific disciplines including chemistry, engineering, microbiology, and nutrition to the study of food to improve the safety, nutrition, wholesomeness and availability of food.
  • Depending on their area of specialization, food scientists may develop ways to process, preserve, package, and/or store food according to industry and government specifications and regulations.

What is Food Technology?

  • Food technology is the application of food science to the selection, preservation, processing, packaging, distribution, and use of safe food.
  • Related fields include analytical chemistry, biotechnology, engineering, nutrition, quality control, and food safety management.

What is Food Processing and Manufacturing?

  • Food processing is the treatment of food substances by changing their properties to preserve it, improve its quality or make it functionally more useful.
  • Food processors take raw animal, vegetable, or marine materials and transform them into edible products through the application of labor, machinery, energy, and scientific knowledge.
  • Chemical, biological, and mechanical processes are used to convert relatively bulky, perishable, and typically inedible food materials into shelf-stable, convenient, and palatable foods and beverages.
  • Food processing is one of the largest manufacturing industries in the United States.
  • According to the FDA, there are approximately 44,000 food processors and 113,000 food warehouses in the U.S. that provide processed foods to our country, and exports throughout the world. The processors include canners, producers, wineries, and other food and beverage manufacturers and distributors.
  • There are more than 1.2 million retail food facilities (restaurants, grocery stores, and others) that serve or sell foods directly to consumers.

What is Food Research?

Food research is the careful, systematic study, investigation, and compilation of information about foods and their components.
What is Food Manufacturing? Food manufacturing is the mass production of food products from raw animal and plant materials, using principles of food technology.

What is Product Development?

Product development is the creation of new flavors, colors or varieties of existing products and/or the creation of entirely new products.

What is Quality Assurance and Quality Control?

Both quality assurance and quality control involve the process of ensuring that products are manufactured correctly and that ingredients and finished products are tested and meet safety and quality specifications.

What is Food Regulation?

Food regulation is the process of determining standards for products, defining safety, and inspecting products. Regulations are set by governments.

More Food Facts

The Microbiome: You are What You Eat

The microbiome is the genetic material of all our microbes—bacteria, fungi, protozoa and viruses - that live on and inside the human body. Microbes outnumber our human cells ten to one.

The New Nutrition Label

The new Nutrition Facts Label is based on updated food consumption data, nutrient recommendations, the 2015 - 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, and consumer behavior trends. These updates are reflected in the changes required in the label design, nutrient list, and serving size.

Dinner Party Tips and Tricks – Powered by Science

Have you been looking for a way to up your dinner party game? IFT Food Facts compiled results from some recent peer-reviewed studies to help you do just that – by incorporating science into your meal.

More from IFT right arrow

How IoP Can Connect the Packaged Food Value Chain

The article describes Internet of Packaging and how technologies and systems within this area can facilitate new packaging mechanisms to improve branding, tracking, tracing, food safety, and sustainability.

Chef Viverito Makes Cell-Based Seafood Taste Good

Chef Gerard Viverito recently joined BlueNalu, a cellular aquaculture startup, where his passion for seafood sustainability and international culinary arts will help him show consumers that cell-based seafood can mimic regular seafood in taste and texture.

Pitch Events to Keep on Your Radar for 2020

Pitch events and incubator programs can help fledgling food startups gain exposure and garner funding for their groundbreaking business concepts.

New Bioprocesses May Reduce Cost to Produce Low-Calorie Sweetener

Separate research from the University of Illinois and Tufts University have examined new bioprocesses for producing tagatose in a more cost-effective manner.

Weathering the Impact of Climate Change

Shifting environmental conditions are taking a toll on food production, but progressive farmers and food companies are fighting back—and making a difference.

IFTNEXT

Caffeine shown to reduce weight gain and fat accumulation

A recent study published in the Journal of Functional Foods found that caffeine consumption may help to mitigate some effects of an unhealthy diet by reducing lipid storage in fat cells and triglyceride production.

One Philly cheesesteak—hold the sodium

The high sodium in a Philly cheesesteak may be a contributing factor to the alarming number of Philadelphia residents with high blood pressure. Food and culinary researchers at Drexel University recently developed a food product that helps Philadelphians continue to enjoy cheesesteaks without guilt.

Rice bran helps reduce malnutrition in infants

Researchers at Colorado State University wondered whether supplementing weaning foods with rice bran would improve the outcomes of malnourished infants.