Food Engineering

Food Engineering

Students interested in the production, processing, packaging, safety and/or transportation of the world’s food supply would be interested the food engineering specialization.

With over 15,000 registered food processing and equipment companies in the U.S., the food industry is one of the largest industries in the world. Food engineers use their skills to design sustainable and environmentally responsible food processes for manufacturing safe, tasty, healthy, convenient food products. As consumer awareness and demand for a safe and abundant supply of food have increased so too has the need for more food engineers.

Students who specialize in food engineering combine basic principles of engineering (fluid mechanics, heat transfer, and mass transfer), math, and science (biology, chemistry, and physics) with advanced courses in food chemistry, microbiology, food processing operations, and engineering design.

Food engineers are well prepared to pursue graduate or professional school or for successful careers food processing, food machinery, packaging, ingredient manufacturing, and instrumentation and control. Our recent graduates have been hired by companies that design and build food processing plants, government agencies, consulting, pharmaceutical, and health-care firms. 

Research in Food Engineering

  • Food-production systems for NASA missions
  • Microencapsulation
  • Emerging technologies in sterilization/pasteurization, including ohmic heating, pulsed electric fields, ultra-high pressure processing
  • Interaction of electricity with biomaterials
  • Aseptic processing and packaging characteristics
  • Extrusion
  • Physical properties characterization with emphasis on phase transition in food systems
  • Edible films and coating
  • Pulsed electric field (PEF) food processing
  • Package sealing methods and integrity inspection
  • Process automation
  • Biological sensors and instrumentation
  • Microbiological food safety related to processing and storage
  • Food product shelf life and quality