Why people eat what they eat.
Consumers are becoming increasingly demanding in what they choose to eat: low-carb, vitamin-enriched, fat-free, organic, sustainably-produced, isotonic, carbon-neutral, fortified, genetically-modified, healthy… and then there’s flavour, safety and affordability. Finding out what people in different markets around the world want, and how to produce it and get it there in top condition is a real challenge for food producers.
That’s where Consumer Food Scientists come in. Their goal is to help turn product ideas into reality. Consumer Food Science students learn about the technical, socio-economic and psychological factors influencing food choice, food production, the subtle art of advertising, food labelling and the regulatory environment.
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Why study Consumer Food Science?
Consumer Food Science gives you the opportunity to work with food and people. You’ll study how people make food choices, bringing together elements from many different subjects.
You can make a contribution to the fast moving and dynamic food industry and will gain an understanding of the marketing that helps to sell a product.
Consumer Food Science encompasses many different subjects and applications, and that’s reflected in the breadth of job opportunities. Our graduates frequently find employment before they have even completed their final year at university. You could end up working for a national or international food company specialising in dairy, confectionery, brewing, fruit and vegetables, seafood or any other foodstuff.
Graduates go into research institutes, for example, Plant and Food Research, or government agencies such as the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI). There are exciting career options in food quality management, food promotion, sensory analysis, teaching, marketing, consumer research and the hospitality industry.
High School students are recommended to take Biology, Maths and English in Year 12 and preferably in Year 13.
Consumer Food Science versus Food Science
Consumer Food Science is more “people” based, whereas Food Science is more “product” oriented.
A consumer food scientist understands how consumers perceive foods (sensory science), how consumers make food choices, how food regulations affect manufacturers and consumers, and how food quality can be managed. Alternatively, if you enjoy science subjects like chemistry and biology, then Food Science is probably a better choice.
Can I combine Consumer Food Science with other subjects?
A minor or a second major is compulsory for your BAppSc degree. Popular choices for combining with Consumer Food Science are Marketing, Management, Entrepreneurship, Nutrition Communication and Agricultural Innovation. There is also room for extra papers to explore your wider interests.
What will I learn?
The Bachelor of Applied Science (BAppSc) in Consumer Food Science provides you with a comprehensive understanding of the food industry, combining both theory and practical hands-on experience.
A paper called Food Principles gives you a broad understanding of food and food production. Food marketing and statistics papers are part of the first year course.
You will also take the first year papers for your chosen minor or second major. You may have room for other papers such as biology, chemistry, psychology, history, anthropology or sociology.
In this year you will take core papers covering food chemistry, food systems and sensory science.
You will also choose papers towards your minor subject, for example Marketing, Management or Nutrition Communication. You may be able to add extras according to your interests.
At this stage, you will take an industry sponsored full-year, hands-on food product development paper, as well as papers in advanced sensory science and advanced aspects of consumer food choice.
You will also complete the third year paper(s) towards your minor or second major.
There are course advisers within the Department who can help you plan your study path.
How will I study?
Classes consist of lectures, tutorials, seminars, practical laboratories, self-directed learning using readings and website material, and field trips to food manufacturers and research organisations. Assessment is through a combination of assignments/ projects, examinations, laboratory reports, essays and oral presentations.
You will have the opportunity to work in groups on a large project that includes interaction with the food industry – a most valuable experience.
Do I need to take Chemistry for Consumer Food Science?
But it is useful to have taken a course in chemistry at school. Any chemistry you need to have a better understanding of food, will be taught as part of the degree.
Can I teach in the school system with a degree in Consumer Food Science?
Studying Consumer Food Science enables you to teach food and technology in the school system, both at primary and secondary level.
Can I include some nutrition study in the Consumer Food Science degree?
You can take a general nutrition paper in your second year and one paper at third year level, or add a minor in Nutrition Communication.
In order to complete a major or minor in Human Nutrition, you need to take chemistry, biochemistry and biology in the first year.
Explore your study options further. Refer to enrolment information found on the following qualification pages.
- Bachelor of Applied Science* (BAppSc)
- Bachelor of Arts and Science (BASc)
- Bachelor of Commerce and Science (BComSc)
- Bachelor of Applied Science with Honours (BAppSc(Hons))
- Diploma for Graduates (DipGrad)
- Postgraduate Certificate in Applied Science (PGCertAppSc)
- Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Science (PGDipAppSc)
- Postgraduate Diploma in Science (PGDipSci)
- Master of Applied Science (MAppSc)
- Master of Science (MSc)
*It is a requirement that every Bachelor of Applied Science (BAppSc) normally includes an approved minor subject or an approved second major subject. Usually such a minor or second major subject must be selected from the approved combinations of major subjects with minor or second major subjects. Some exceptions may apply. For details see:
Bachelor of Applied Science (BAppSc) majoring in Consumer Food Science
FOSC 111 Food Principles
FOSC 112 Introduction to Food Marketing
CELS 191 Cell and Molecular Biology (recommended) or another paper
FOSC 201 Food Systems 1
FOSC 202 Food Systems 2
FOSC 213 Sensory Science
FOSC 306 Advanced Sensory Science
FOSC 308 Food and Consumers
FOSC 311 Food Product Development
162 further points, including either requirements for an approved minor or approved second major subject or other approved papers
Bachelor of Applied Sciences with Honours (BAppSc(Hons)) in Consumer Food Science
Postgraduate Diploma in Science (PGDipSci) in Consumer Food Science
Master of Applied Science (MAppSc) in Consumer Food Science
Master of Science (MSc) in Consumer Food Science
|Papers and Thesis|
Minor subject requirements
Consumer Food Science as a minor subject for a BA, MusB, BPA, BTheol, BSc, BAppSc, BCom, BHealSc, BACom, BASc or BComSc degree
Available as a minor subject for a Bachelor of Arts (BA), Bachelor of Music (MusB), Bachelor of Performing Arts (BPA), Bachelor of Theology (BTheol), Bachelor of Science (BSc), Bachelor of Applied Science (BAppSc), Bachelor of Commerce (BCom), Bachelor of Health Science (BHealSc), Bachelor of Arts and Commerce (BACom), Bachelor of Arts and Science (BASc) or Bachelor of Commerce and Science (BComSc) degree
FOSC 111 Food Principles
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, a selection of on-campus papers will be made available via distance and online learning for eligible students.
Find out which papers are available and how to apply on our COVID-19 website
|Paper code||Year||Title||Points||Teaching period|
|FOSC111||2023||Food in a Changing World||18 points||Semester 1|
|FOSC112||2023||Introduction to Food Marketing||18 points||Semester 2|
|FOSC201||2023||Food Components, Processing and Functionality||18 points||Semester 1|
|FOSC202||2023||Food Systems and Quality||18 points||Semester 2|
|FOSC213||2023||Sensory Science||18 points||Semester 2|
|FOSC301||2023||Food Chemistry, Structure and Function||18 points||Semester 2|
|FOSC302||2023||Food Preservation and Processing||18 points||Semester 1|
|FOSC304||2023||Food Science Project||18 points||Semester 1, Semester 2, Full Year|
|FOSC306||2023||Advanced Sensory Science||18 points||Semester 1|
|FOSC308||2023||Food and Consumers||18 points||Semester 2|
|FOSC309||2023||Consumer Food Science Project||18 points||Semester 1, Semester 2, Full Year|
|FOSC311||2023||Food Product Development||36 points||Full Year|
|FOSC401||2023||Topics in Advanced Food Science 1||20 points||Semester 1, Semester 2, Full Year, 1st Non standard period|
|FOSC402||2023||Topics in Advanced Food Science 2||20 points||Semester 1, Semester 2, Full Year, 1st Non standard period|
|FOSC403||2023||Topics in Advanced Food Science 3||20 points||Semester 1, Semester 2, Full Year, 1st Non standard period|
|FOSC404||2023||Topics in Advanced Food Science 4||20 points||Semester 1, Semester 2, Full Year, 1st Non standard period|
|FOSC405||2023||Topics in Advanced Food Science 5||20 points||Semester 1, Semester 2, Full Year, 1st Non standard period|
|FOSC421||2023||Topics in Advanced Consumer Food Science 1||20 points||Semester 1, Semester 2, Full Year, 1st Non standard period|
|FOSC422||2023||Topics in Advanced Consumer Food Science 2||20 points||Semester 1, Semester 2, Full Year, 1st Non standard period|
|FOSC423||2023||Topics in Advanced Consumer Food Science 3||20 points||Semester 1, Semester 2, Full Year, 1st Non standard period|
|FOSC425||2023||Topics in Advanced Consumer Food Science 5||20 points||Semester 1, Semester 2, Full Year, 1st Non standard period|
|FOSC460||2023||Cooperative Education Programme||20 points||Full Year, 1st Non standard period|
|FOSC480||2023||Research Project||20 points||Semester 1, Semester 2, Full Year, 1st Non standard period|
|FOSC490||2023||Dissertation||60 points||Full Year, 1st Non standard period|
|FOSC495||2023||Master's Thesis Preparation||40 points||Full Year, 1st Non standard period|
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Department of Food Science