A model for education and promoting food science and technology among high school students and the public
A model for education and promoting food science and technology (FST) as a career among high school students and the public is proposed. Important as FST may be, there has been a general down trend in the number of students enrolling for the course in the institutions worldwide. This is not unconnected with the “home economics/catering” image perception of the discipline by the public. The efforts of some developed countries in reversing this trend were reviewed. The USA, UK, Australia and Canada have put activities in place to this end, hence their stride in food security. If developing continents like Africa will overcome food insecurity, deliberate effort should be geared in making sure FST as a discipline/profession, receives the proper image and boost in enrolment. The proposed model uses the food chain to make a distinction between FST and other food-related professions such as home economics, hospitality management and nutrition/dietetics. FST operates at the secondary stage (processing and distribution) of the food chain closer to the farm gate, providing its end product (food) for other professions while targeting the public. All the other food related disciplines operate at the tertiary stage (retail) directly with the consumer while depending on the product of FST. The core business of the food industry is the product, process and the company, with FST directly involved in all of these areas. The model also highlights the involvement of FST in these areas as well as the need for industry-academia partnership.
Key words: Food science and technology, image, home economics, dietetics, nutrition, food chain.