Why Food Science Matters

The application of food science is even more important as the world population expands

Food science makes food available for billions of people. It allows us to produce and transport simple products such as milk, juice or ice cream. It makes delicious foods we already have even better. Without it, we would have severe shortages in food because we wouldn’t be able to preserve or extend its shelf life, let alone perfect it. Food items would be available only at the point of production. Supermarket aisles would be practically empty.

It is with food science that we can feed the world’s growing population from the urban metropolis to remote destinations across the United States to nations halfway around the globe.

The arc of food science progress might begin with the processing of food by cooking it, then drying, salting or freezing meat to preserve it. We have been adding color for centuries, throwing in beets or sugar cane as sweeteners and using seaweed to stabilize soups and stews. We have learned to pasteurize our milk for safety and to homogenize it because we all prefer it that way.

The industrial revolution and a move from farms to cities made the safe preservation and distribution of food through science a necessity and eventually an industry. Today, advances in food science are at the forefront of helping to address some of the world’s most pressing problems beginning with basic nutrition and extending well in healthy lifestyles. And considering that we all eat, every one of us has an opinion about what and how we eat and how it should look and taste. We share those opinions at the dinner table and, increasingly, in online mediums like this one.

Whether the subject is GMOs, gluten, sweeteners, coloring agents, stabilizers or preservatives we now have an abundance of opinion – much of it agenda-driven, substituting volume and accusation for facts. All this information and opinion on the food sciences has made us somehow less informed and more frightened.

At FMC we value science as a pursuit of simple truth. We employ many of the world’s most talented research scientists and for more than a century we’ve established a set of exacting standards regarding both our science and the ingredients we produce.

We believe that it is reasonable to ask not only ‘What’s for dinner?’ but ‘What’s in dinner?’

To that end, we need to understand how to evaluate and appreciate the science of food.