Food Science & Technology
What are the benefits of Food Science
The primary objective of food science and technology is to provide "crowded populations . . . with the kind and quality of food they demand at all times of the year" (1). Seen from this point of view, tremendous progress has been achieved in recent years in the field of food production, processing, storage, and distribution. The main beneficiaries of these developments have been the consumers living in urban centres. For most of them food preparation has become easier, in many cases cheaper, and in some cases of higher quality. The purpose of my review will be to analyse how and to what extent these developments in food science and technology have influenced the situation of the agricultural producer and how they have contributed to the transformations and changes in rural areas.
In this context also want to appraise the role of the food processing industry, which like any other large-scale industry, is oriented towards the maximization of Food Certification gains and profits. Frequently, this industry has promoted the development of scientific and technological processes to produce foods of elaborate quality to titillate the palates of already well-fed consumers. Frozen "television dinners" and similar articles to be found in supermarkets in the West may appear to observers from developing countries to represent an extravagant waste of scientific knowledge and technological skill. The development of such products has been facilitated by the demand of a financially potent group of consumers, which regulates the food market. However, in the face of the depressing poverty of agricultural producers in the Third World we have to deplore, as has been done at previous congresses of the International Union of Food Science and Technology (lUFoST), that there has been little research on food legumes, roots, tubers, and rain-fed rice, which are staple foods in many developing countries.
IMPACT OF FOOD SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY ON THE SOCIAL SITUATION
The transformation of the social and economic situation of the farming population described above has been the result of numerous interrelated factors, both external and internal to the agricultural sector. In this process, the means of production and agrarian structure are interlinked, and their changes influence each other mutually. In addition, development processes in the farming sector are not independent anymore; they are part and parcel of the overall economy and, therefore, are subject to changes in the other sectors.
When assessing the contribution of food science and technology on changes in the rural areas, we have to take into consideration that they constitute only one element in this process. Other factors, such as policy measures in the field of prices, taxes, trade, and land tenure, have a much more direct impact and may enhance or reduce the potential role of food science and technology. Hawthorn described the situation as follows:
Food scientists determine the quality and properties of foods including the nutritive value, flavour, palatability, colour, texture and storage life of foods using sensory testing, biochemistry and microbiology techniques. Food technologists apply their knowledge of food science to operate, design and manage the facilities and equipment involved in the processing and storage of foods.
Food scientists and technologists are also involved in the research and development of new food products and new technologies in the processing of foods.