Food: it's what we're made of. Now, make it better.
Do you eat? Sure you do. If you don't, you should probably see a doctor…or a botanist, because you're likely a plant. Hey, congratulations on figuring out the Internet. That couldn't have been easy.
The rest of you definitely eat. You've probably eaten at least once today. Food is pretty important to living organisms like humans, orangutans, platypuses, octopuses, falcons, tigers, and pretty much everything you've seen at the zoo. As with anything of importance, scientists have studied it.
Some of this is because the human body needs specific nutrients to be healthy. It's nice to know what's good for us and what's poisonous, but it's not always so obvious. Onions are poisonous to cats, but they're great for us. Why? Science.
Actually, no. Science only tells us why something is the case. It's never the reason itself. Still, it feels fun to shout sometimes.
The point is that there's a science to what we need to eat. That's why there's that handy dandy chart on the side of every food-like product out there. It's not just to give bored people a chance to do math. There's a purpose behind it.
Food scientists do all kinds of food-related things. While most people think food only exists from the moment it goes onto the plate to the moment it's eaten, it really has a much longer life cycle. Food comes from someplace—usually farms—and it has to be refined, prepared, folded, spindled, and re-combobulated for consumption. Food scientists science all up and down these processes.
Food will also sometimes rot if it's left out. Yes, it's true. You did not discover a new way of making yogurt. That solid milk is spoiled. Please don't eat it. Because of this, some food scientists are devoted to making our food last longer. That's why we have those little creamers that can sit out of the fridge for years and never go bad.
Then there's the scary-sounding genetically engineered food. While there's potential to misuse that kind of technology (in some sort of killer-vegetable-army scenario), the main goal is to increase harvests. There are a lot of people around the world who are pretty hungry, and making their farms yield more can really help.
Of course, there's also the most obvious use: how to make food taste better. The best way is to take food that's good for us to begin with, and then make it taste like fried chocolate. That's a challenge, and who wouldn't want to be the person who figured that one out?
No one, that's who.
Famous People who majored in Food Science
- Louis Pasteur, inventor of pasteurization
- George Washington Carver, most famous for his work with peanuts
- John J. Powers, involved in the creation of the Food Science Department at UGA
- G. Malcolm Trout, professor of food science
- Frank Hu, nutrition professor at Harvard
Percentage of US students who major in Food Science:
Stats obtained from this source.