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.

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.

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.

More from IFT right arrow

The power of private brands; Healthy foods have lower environmental impact

News about food science research, food companies, food regulations, and consumer/marketplace trends

Special Considerations for Allergen Testing

The article describes why new product concepts may need new packaging concepts and how ideas in both areas are initiated and fulfilled.

Maintaining Healthy Microbiomes

Research on the gut microbiome is linking parts of the diet with healthy microbiomes and uncovering benefits of a healthy gut microbiome, including supporting mental health, cardiovascular health, weight management, and more.

Sensory evaluation of specialty oranges; Europe leads in organic launches

News about food science research, food companies, food regulations, and consumer/marketplace trends

The Dairy Chronicles

Dairy experts at the University of Wisconsin–Madison’s Center for Dairy Research explain why cow’s milk is a near-perfect beverage and perhaps the most versatile ingredient.

IFTNEXT

Novel protein bar delivers alcohol-absorbing benefits

Just in time for the season of holiday happy hours, office parties, and festive family gatherings, a company called Zeno Functional Foods is introducing a protein bar formulated specifically to help promote sobriety by reducing alcohol absorption.

Extracts from coffee processing ‘waste’ may alleviate inflammation

Food science and human nutrition researchers at the University of Illinois are interested in the potential of inflammation-fighting compounds found in the silverskin and husk of coffee beans, not only for their benefits in alleviating chronic disease, but also in adding value to would-be “waste” products from the coffee processing industry.

Learning about human appetites from the common fruit fly

Insights into the diets of the tiny common fruit fly may help provide understandings into how humans evolved to eat what we eat, according to new research published in Cell Reports and a press release from Kyoto University.