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Study Consumer Food Science at Otago

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.

Apply for the Bachelor of Applied Science (BAppSc) through the Dunedin campus in 2023

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Apply for the Bachelor of Applied Science with Honours (BAppSc(Hons)) through the Dunedin campus in 2023

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Apply for the Bachelor of Arts and Science (BASc) through the Dunedin campus in 2023

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Apply for the Bachelor of Commerce and Science (BComSc) through the Dunedin campus in 2023

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Apply for the Diploma for Graduates (DipGrad) through the Dunedin campus in 2023

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Apply for the Master of Science (MSc) through the Dunedin campus in 2023

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Apply for the Postgraduate Certificate in Applied Science (PGCertAppSc) through the Dunedin campus in 2023

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Apply for the Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Science (PGDipAppSc) through the Dunedin campus in 2023

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Apply for the Postgraduate Diploma in Science (PGDipSci) through the Dunedin campus in 2023

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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.

Career opportunities

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.

Background required

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.

Year 1

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.

Year 2

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.

Year 3

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?

No.

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?

Yes.

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?

Yes.

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.

Qualifications

Explore your study options further. Refer to enrolment information found on the following qualification pages.

*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:

Full list of available approved minor and second major subject areas

Programme requirements

Bachelor of Applied Science (BAppSc) majoring in Consumer Food Science

Year Papers Points
100-level

FOSC 111  Food Principles

FOSC 112  Introduction to Food Marketing

STAT 110  Statistical Methods, or STAT 115  Introduction to Biostatistics

CELS 191  Cell and Molecular Biology (recommended) or another paper

18

18

18

18

200-level

FOSC 201  Food Systems 1

FOSC 202  Food Systems 2

FOSC 213  Sensory Science

18

18

18

300-level

FOSC 306  Advanced Sensory Science

FOSC 308  Food and Consumers

FOSC 311  Food Product Development

18

18

36

 

162 further points, including either requirements for an approved minor or approved second major subject or other approved papers

162

Total   360

Bachelor of Applied Sciences with Honours (BAppSc(Hons)) in Consumer Food Science

Papers
  • FOSC 490  Dissertation

  • Three approved papers from FOSC 421, FOSC 422, FOSC 423, FOSC 424, FOSC 425, Topics in Advanced Consumer Food Science 1-5

    Note: With approval from the Head of the Department of Food Science, FOSC 460 or one 400-level paper from another relevant subject may be substituted for one 400-level FOSC paper.

Postgraduate Diploma in Science (PGDipSci) in Consumer Food Science

Papers
  • One of:

  • Further papers from FOSC 421, FOSC 422, FOSC 423, FOSC 424, FOSC 425, Topics in Advanced Consumer Food Science 1-5 approved by the Head of the Department of Food Science to make a total of 120 points

    Note: With approval from the Head of the Department of Food Science, FOSC 460 or one 400-level paper from another relevant subject may be substituted for one of FOSC 421-425.

Master of Applied Science (MAppSc) in Consumer Food Science

Papers

Master of Science (MSc) in Consumer Food Science

Papers and Thesis
  • FOSC 495  Master's Thesis Preparation

  • Four further papers from FOSC 421, FOSC 422, FOSC 423, FOSC 424, FOSC 425, Topics in Advanced Consumer Food Science 1-5 approved by the Head of the Department of Food Science

    Note: With approval from the Head of the Department of Food Science, FOSC 460 or one 400-level paper from another relevant subject may be substituted for one elective 400-level FOSC paper.

  • Thesis: FOSC 5

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

Level Papers Points
100-level

FOSC 111  Food Principles

18 

200-level

Two of:
FOSC 201 Food Systems 1
FOSC 202  Food Systems 2
FOSC 213  Sensory Science

36

300-level

One of:
FOSC 306  Advanced Sensory Science
FOSC 308  Food and Consumers

18

Plus

One further paper from FOSC 112, STAT 110, STAT 115, FOSC 201, FOSC 202, FOSC 213, FOSC 306, FOSC 308

18

Total   90

Papers

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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Key information for future students

Contact us

Department of Food Science
Web otago.ac.nz/foodscience