A course in food technology from Massey University, New Zealand, can be an opportunity to taste success in the food industry.
You can’t be called a foodie only because you like to eat food. A true foodie is someone who knows the technology behind food, the science and engineering that add value to commodity foods such as dairy products, meat, fruit, vegetables and grain. If you are one, a course in food technology might interest you.
The course helps you gain an in-depth knowledge of raw foods and how they can be handled, processed and packaged to be safe, convenient and nutritious, and, most importantly be great-tasting products.
The food industry always needs food technologists to provide consumers with safe, convenient and nutritious end products. With the focus shifting to health and wellbeing through consumption of healthy food, the world’s economies are looking for new ways to add value to raw produce. All this adds up to excellent salaries and an increasing demand for people with the skills and knowledge about food technology.
With 50 years of experience in turning out food technologists, one cannot argue about the course or faculty at Massey Univeristy. It is the only degree in Australasia that combines food science, food engineering and food business. And that just means one thing. You get more than a food science degree — you’ll gain the technical and business skills to apply your knowledge in the commercial world.
The Food Product Technology major of the BFoodTech (Hons) programme is accredited by the U.S.-based Institute of Food Technologists (IFT). The Food Process Engineering major is accredited by IPENZ (Institute of Professional Engineers New Zealand) as a professional engineering degree under the Washington Accord, an international agreement. In fact many of Massey’s food technology graduates have jobs before they finish their courses and their international recognition guarantees a job in New Zealand, or around the world. A four-year course you do have the option to take their condensed programme starting in August. If you choose to start in August your first semester will condense the first year into 26 weeks of intensive study from August to February.
The programme teaches you the fundamental and applied food technology skills. You learn not only through the classroom, but practical laboratory and workshop sessions that focus on real industry problems and solutions. You’ll get hands-on experience in industrial-standard food processing plants. With lecturers active in research, and many having worked in New Zealand and international food industries, they are there to make sure you are always updated.
In your first year you will be introduced to food technology and the food industry, working on team projects and studying science (chemistry, physics, maths) and engineering. In your second and third year, you develop your applied knowledge and ability in food formulation, food safety and preservation, marketing, packaging, nutrition, process engineering and aspects of food law and business management.
In the last year, you apply your knowledge in projects, solving real-world industrial problems. Food product technology students focus on product development, business and quality management, while food process engineering students focus more on process control, modelling and packaging.
At Massey, you’re required to complete 900 hours of approved summer vacation employment (over three summer breaks). Students must work for approved companies in the food manufacturing, distribution, retail or food service sectors, and are required to submit three reports on their experiences. This will help you come out with a broader understanding of the food industry and to be ready to start work from the day you graduate.
The study of food technology is science and engineering-based. It combines fundamental sciences, mathematics and statistics, and the more applied sciences and engineering with business and management. There are two majors in the Bachelor of Food Technology with Honours degree: Food Product Technology — where you will learn how to lead and manage food product development, from idea generation to product launch, and Food Process Engineering — where the focus will be on engineering principles, learning how to design processes and use technology to create effective food production systems.
Although you do need to choose one of the two options to complete your degree, the opportunities that follow are immense.
There is wide variety of roles in the food technology industry one can choose from. Some of them are:
Food technologist — researching new foods and drinks and developing new products, packaging or processes.
Product development technologist — specifically working on developing a new product from concept to product.
Process technologist — improving and fixing food product processes
Process engineer — developing new technology that makes food production processes better
Flavour technologist — developing flavour and texture innovations.
Packaging technologist — developing more efficient or sustainable food packaging
Other roles include quality manager, food safety manager, production team leader, technical sales and support, winemaker or brewer, food microbiologist or food chemist.
Another option is to further your studies with a postgraduate research project, or become a teacher.
You will need NCEA level 3 (or approved alternatives) in physics, mathematics with calculus, and chemistry. If you don’t have these, you can take Massey’s catch-up papers over the summer semester starting in November each year.
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