CPUT’s Virtual Open Day is now open! Click here to visit >>>

Friday, 16 April 2021

Consumer Science: Food and Nutrition welcomes new lecturer

ENTHUSIASM: Consumer Science: Food and Nutrition newly appointed permanent lecturer, Zani Veldsman is eager to ensure that her students receive a holistic education by helping them to see the links between their different course subjects and how this will help them in the industry one day. ENTHUSIASM: Consumer Science: Food and Nutrition newly appointed permanent lecturer, Zani Veldsman is eager to ensure that her students receive a holistic education by helping them to see the links between their different course subjects and how this will help them in the industry one day.

Newly appointed lecturer, Consumer Science: Food and Nutrition, Zani Veldsman is keen on making a sustainable difference through the application of her skills and knowledge in the fields of new product development and innovation, nutrition and wellness.

From a very young age, Veldsman knew that she wanted to work in the nutrition and food industry. She had a goal and aligned her choices with that goal. “It took a lot of hard work, late nights of studying and working, focus and perseverance,” she reminisces.

At times the PhD candidate had to take a detour from her planned path but that is where she discovered new passions, like teaching. “After 10 years in the food industry, I realised that I have an immense passion for teaching and that I can align my passion for food and nutrition with teaching. I realised that you should always be open to new possibilities and that your dreams and goals can grow and evolve as time goes by,” she continues.

“I am passionate about food. It's as simple as that! I believe that having access to good quality and nutritious food is a basic human right. But more than that, I believe food is personal and part of the fabric of our very existence.”

Some of her fondest memories are in her home’s kitchen and around the dinner table with her family and friends. “We prepared our food together while we chatted about our day and then sat down as a family to eat. This really taught me a lot about community and how to be present in the moment. I suppose this is also where my love of food was born and that influenced many of my life choices.”

The soft-spoken but persistent, Veldsman has worked in the fast-moving consumer goods environment, globally and locally.  She has been “fortunate” to work in both the food industry and academic environment. She worked for and with (when she started her own business) various companies such as Clover, Astral Poultry and Starbucks (the Middle East and North Africa).  

“I believe in bridging the gap between science and practice in the fields of nutrition, wellness and health by creating sustainable solutions that solve practical problems through the application of scientifically proven methods and principles.”

Veldsman says: “Teaching is a great passion of mine and moulding young minds really excites me! It is an opportunity to give back and share the knowledge I have gained. Before this [permanent appointment] I was teaching part-time and managed my own consultancy business - Blend Food.”

Completing her Master’s degree, presenting her first oral presentation at an international conference, working for Starbucks and “personally – getting married to my best friend” are some of her fondest memories. However, she admits that her blossoming career came with a price: “I lived quite far away from my family for almost 13 years and it was tough to be so far away from my support structures. However, the experience taught me to be self-sufficient and strong as a woman.”

Among her plans, is to “work with the Consumer Science team to keep improving our course and subject in an ever-changing world. The team is very dynamic and it is a privilege to work with them. Food habits and trends change from year to year and we have to keep up. I aim to ensure that all my subjects are adapted for different styles of learning to accommodate as many students as possible.”

Written by Des