As worldwide interest in food and food-related issues grows, food science careers are becoming increasingly popular. Catering to the need for quality graduates, technical degree programs help students add interests in culinary arts, environmental sciences, entrepreneurship, and more. How exciting! The food industry is bursting with rewarding career opportunities.
So how can professors address this burgeoning interest in their product development classes? Quality textbooks, for starters. Recently, I received a copy of Methods for Developing New Food Products and the publisher requested my honest review. It was a pleasure to receive the book. I haven’t had my nose so close to a textbook since college!
Methods for Developing New Food Products is a comprehensive overview of the fundamental elements of a new food product’s lifecycle from ideation to commercialization. Repeatedly, the book answers a student’s inevitable question, “But when will I use this information in the real world?”
Chapters progress in a logical, easily understandable format, beginning with an overview of product development and moving through consumer preference and market trends, chemical/physical properties of food components, sensory analysis of a product and methods of evaluation, experimental design in product development, basic units of operation (how a product is manufactured), shelf life testing, on-pack labeling, quality control, and more. The text is easy to read and packed with practical information and examples.
Key features of the text that caught my eye:
- Consistent formatting such as a “learning objectives” box at the beginning of each chapter. Key vocabulary and comprehension questions at the end of each chapter make the text an easy-to-use learning tool.
- Effective use of tables and figures reinforce key points throughout the text.
- Inclusion of recent federal legislation, such as the Food Safety Modernization Act and new requirements for nutrition facts labeling, keeps the text current with existing regulatory considerations.
- Case studies bring to light the real-world applicability, and offer students a sneak peek of the foreseeable rock-and-a-hard-place situations that can arise in the launch of a new food product.
In studying Methods for Developing New Food Products, students will learn the basics of new product design and development. But perhaps more importantly, students will gain an understanding for the many interrelationships with different facets of the commercialization cycle (like ideation, economic and production feasibility, marketing and interfacing with the consumer, regulatory compliance, quality control, etc). In effectively addressing important topics such as these, authors Aramouni and Deschenes are preparing a student for a successful career in the food industry.
As savvy consumers continue to demand products that are on-trend, appealing, accessible, and affordable, I especially appreciated inclusion of topics like: reverse-engineering competitor products, how to use market research, and the economic feasibility of new product ideas – all practical information for today’s evolving food industry.
Other chapters of particular interest highlighted topics like innovation management systems, which students will undoubtedly encounter and be required to navigate when working in the industry. Additionally, the text’s emphasis on important resources like the Code of Federal Regulations offer invaluable learnings in how to ensure a new product is in compliance with U.S. law.
As a product developer myself, I believe Methods for Developing New Food Products successfully outlines the key principles that underlie the many accountabilities of a product developer in the food industry. There are many considerations in ushering a new food product to market – and a successful launch is not always guaranteed. This text is great preparation for any student looking to understand the lifecycle of a food product and what it entails.
Methods for Developing New Food Products is an excellent tool for teachers and educators, a handy reference for industry professionals and an exceptional resource for students learning the basics of the food industry and new product development. The text provides a solid foundation upon which to build specialized interests and on-the-job experience.