Consumer and Food Sciences

On the 1st of November 2017, two of the oldest departments at the University of Pretoria merged. The Consumer Science Department (90 years) and Food Science Department (100 years) became the newly formed Department of Consumer and Food Sciences.  The department provides relevant, world-class education and training for future leaders in Consumer Science, Food Science, Culinary Science and Nutrition. The standards of our programmes are benchmarked internationally and prepare students for economically satisfying careers.

The food and clothing industries are significant in economic growth and employment within South Africa. A degree in B.ConSci Clothing Retail Management, B.ConSci Food Retail Management, B.ConSci Hospitality Management, BSc Culinary Science, BSc Food Science and BSc Nutrition are stepping stones to various exciting and rewarding careers within these industries. Our degrees provide one with not only a sound theoretical background but also ample opportunities to interact with the respective industries, through internships and experiential training, visits to food and clothing factories, guest speakers from industry, and participating in industry-sponsored competitions. While studying, students have access to world class facilities such as departmental food pilot plants, textiles and clothing labs, and industrial kitchens (see Gallery). Community involvement and industry collaboration are emphasised throughout all the programmes. This well-rounded exposure allows our graduates to pursue diverse careers in the food development, food retail, clothing retail and textile industries, based on each individual’s personal interests.

B.Consumer Science undergraduate programmes are offered in three specialisation fields– Clothing Retail Management, Food Retail Management, and Hospitality Management. The focus is on using, consuming, and managing these commodities/products in various contexts. Consumer scientists are involved in product development, sustainable production practices, consumer behaviour and decision-making, consumer well-being and ethical business practices. They need to have consumer and market insights to develop profitable products that will satisfy the needs and wants of specific target markets. Clothing Retail Management prepares students for the exciting and dynamic textile and clothing industry. Graduates with a degree in Food Retail Management are employed throughout the food supply chain, and Hospitality Management prepares students for employment with leading food and hospitality companies.

These degrees not only focus on providing students with comprehensive subject knowledge, and industry required skills but also include various marketing and business management modules to prepare them to function in their respective industries. The unique structure of the four-year, full-time programmes addresses consumer, industry and community needs.

BSc undergraduate programmes include Food Science, Nutrition and Culinary Science. The Food Science and Nutrition programmes involve the application of scientific principles to the development of food and supplying safe, nutritious, and affordable food.  Food scientists have been involved in developing many novel food products that are now freely available in shops, e.g., long-life milk, frozen and canned foods, snack foods and ready-to-eat meals. Food scientists are trained to meet the challenge of developing and supplying foods that comply with the ever-changing demands of the modern consumer. Just as importantly, nutritionists lead the fight against hunger and malnutrition by developing affordable, nutritious foods. Examples are instant weaning porridges and vitamin and mineral fortified staple foods. Culinary Science involves incorporating art and science into food preparation and development. This programme combines food chemistry, microbiology, culinary art and food product development.

Students studying BSc must be knowledgeable about the chemical composition, structure and nutritional value of food, food processing and preservation techniques, and the chemical, physical and biological changes that occur in food during processing, preservation and storage. We excel in many areas, e.g., the pioneering of cross-disciplinary research, to help solve South Africa’s critical food and nutrition challenges as part of the National Centre of Excellence in Food Security and the University’s Institute for Food Nutrition and Well-being. Graduates with Food Science, Nutrition and Culinary Science degrees are eligible for registration as Natural Scientists with the South African Council of Natural Scientific Professions (SACNASP). The BSc Nutrition graduates can also register with the Nutrition Society of South Africa.

Our postgraduate programme is the flagship of our department. The Department has a strong research culture and attracts postgraduate students from all over the country and the rest of Africa. Students completing a three-year BSc Food Science degree with a 60% average may enrol for Honours which can be followed by a Masters and subsequently a PhD degree. Students who have completed a four-year degree (BSc Nutrition, Culinary Science or B Con Sci) with a 60% average can directly apply for a Master’s degree. After completion of a Master’s degree, a student may register for a PhD.

Current Undergraduate study programmes

 

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