Food Technology – A Cinderella Career Path Due to an Un-Sexy Name?

It would seem that the programme title FOOD TECHNOLOGY (with its appropriate qualification in linear fashion from National Diploma to Masters) is somewhat mis-leading, un-sexy and does not catch the imagination of the pupils at high schools. Let’s face it, with the word “FOOD” as part of its title, the mind immediately sees “COOKING”, “CHEF”, “DOMESTIC SCIENCE” and “HOME ECONOMICS”, the latter two related to the subject names previously and presently used in the South African schooling system. Another thing the mind sees: It’s for women!!

Just mention the National Diploma in Biomedical Sciences and immediately this conjures up a more sexy image involving white lab coats, clean laboratories, needles, pipettes and other paraphenalia associated with TV programmes such as CSI et al. Don’t even talk about the Engineering courses….more conjuring of hardcore males (mostly males but increasingly females) doing their thing on bridges, roads, spaceships, un-manned aerial vehicles and such-like interesting things. Sexxy stuff for a fertile mind still at school. Food Technology……naah! That most probably sucks!! Let’s look at other career fields!! My goodness, and we have not yet covered other exotic career fields and programme titles…….Biotechnology, Industrial Design, Analytical Chemistry……and one could go on in this fashion. One last one: ND Consumer Science (Food & Nutrition)!!

Let’s dissect this a little. The name itself is very descriptive: FOOD (is what we work with) and TECHNOLOGY (how we work with it) = Lebensmittletegnologie (German). The first word is hugely descriptive and ecnompasses FOOD in all its forms. However, I suspect that the general populace meeting the career field for the first time would see highly processed i.e. prepared food e.g. a menu and a meal. TECHNOLOGY? I think that generally people would make a better assumption about all this entails.

So the problematic word here is FOOD since, based on my assumption above, if you see a prepared meal in your mind’s eye, then this has got to be cooking classes. What to replace it with is a problem….how do you say FOOD (in all its different raw and processsed forms) in a sexy way? Let’s call for suggestions here!

TECHNOLOGY in itself may be more easily understood but highly unlikely in all its various forms of processing technologies. I like the way the French literally translate it: TRANSFORMATION (of food raw materials). What word to use here to make it more attractive?? Suggestions?

At the end of the day, FOOD TECHNOLOGY has sufficed with a little more explanation required than with other disciplines in the sciences when speaking to pupils and to others not familiar with the field. But just think how differently this could have looked if a more creative (rather than descriptive) name were used in the first instance.

Again, for the uninitiated, check out the wild things we use to process food and to teach people how to do it:

By: Larry Dolley
p.s. FOOD SCIENCE is not allowed since there is another qualification existing with this name already.


2 thoughts on “Food Technology – A Cinderella Career Path Due to an Un-Sexy Name?

    1. Post author

      Food Engineer has engineering implications which is good in terms of the “sexy” bit but, to be true, the Engineers will be on our backs even though we do have engineering as a component of the programme.


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