A lot of work goes into the food we see every day on supermarket shelves. From designing attractive packaging to testing and assuring the quality of the products we eat, a diverse industry of highly trained professionals use their skills and knowledge to ensure our food is tasty, nutritious, and safe to eat.
A key part of this process is research and development (R&D). This is the work that companies do to develop new products, or improve existing products or production processes.
For anyone interested in training in food technology, here are five reasons why R&D is so important.
For Companies with Tight Margins, R&D Can Make All the Difference
By finding new efficiencies in the production process, experimenting with lower-cost substitutes for ingredients, and discovering new ways to produce the same food with lower energy inputs, research and development in the food industry is an important way of keeping food production costs as low as possible. Not only does this improve the profitability and competitiveness of food manufacturers, but it also benefits consumers by keeping prices down at the checkout.
Research and Development Can Improve the Nutritional Value of Food
R&D can also greatly improve the nutritional value of existing products, with food producers seeking to reduce the salt, sugar, and fat content of their products, as well as increase more beneficial components like fibre. As government regulations on food become ever more stringent, and consumers become ever more conscious of the links between diet and health, this has become a top priority for R&D departments in the food industry.
R&D Is the Key to Competition and Consumer Choice in the Food Industry
When a company meets certain nutritional requirements for their food products, lowering sodium levels beyond a certain amount or raising the amount of fibre, they can sometimes use this in their advertising and packaging to increase their competitiveness in the marketplace. R&D can also be used to develop new variations on existing products tailored to particular nutritional needs, allergies, or tastes, as well as inventing entirely new products for previously unfilled niches. It’s one of the key ways that producers can keep an edge in their highly competitive industry, and as a result, consumers get to reap the benefit of a constantly evolving and expanding range of choices.
Students Can Use their Food Technology Training to Improve Safety
The R&D process can also be used to improve safety—both for consumers, in regards to the foods they eat, and for food industry professionals, in regards to the manufacturing processes they use to produce those foods. As anyone with a food safety diploma knows, there are many ways that the safety of consumers and workers can be compromised, from dangerous machinery to product spoilage, and R&D is pivotal for allowing companies to continually revaluate and improve their products and processes.
R&D can improve safety for both consumers and workers
R&D Can Improve Efficiency and Sustainability, and Reduce Food Waste
Students in food technology training should know that research and development isn’t only crucial for companies hoping to compete and consumers looking for healthy choices, either. It can also have a big impact on the environment. By developing and implementing new ways of improving energy efficiency and sustainability in the production process, as well as minimizing food spoilage and waste, food industry R&D can have a significant impact even beyond the marketplace.
Are you interested in a career in food technology?
Contact AAPS College to learn more about our food technology and food safety courses in Toronto.