FOOD DIVERSITY INNOVATION PROGRAM
The U.S. food market is as diverse as our population, and truly reflects the fact that we are a melting pot of the world in food culture, preference, and lifestyle. We are shifting from the mechanical food science constructs to awareness and adaption to changing market trends. This requires understanding, critical thinking, innovation, and courage to adapt to evolving consumer preferences for clean simple labels and product attributes like halal, kosher, organic, non-GMO, gluten free, vegan, lactose free, dairy free, cage free and animal welfare.
The Food Diversity Innovation Program (FDIP) was established in 2016 as a sustainable high-impact educational and research program in the specialized areas of religious and ethnic foods and other certified foods to educate graduate and undergraduate students through direct interactions with food industries and hands-on research and product development experiences.
The new Food Diversity Certificate, offered by the Department of Nutrition and Food Science, includes 15 hours of concentrated study in the areas of religious and ethnic foods as related to food processing, quality control, record keeping, and global certifications for foods and food ingredients. The curriculum will provide a strong knowledge base to students who desire to work in the food ingredient or food manufacturing field with an emphasis on the diverse array of certifications that may be required such as Halal, Kosher, organic, Non-GMO, or gluten-free or quality certifications such as Safe Quality Foods and Global Food Safety Initiative. Therefore, students who complete a Food Diversity Certificate will be uniquely trained to handle current and future challenges that the diverse food supply brings and qualify them for a specialized job market.
A flourishing market for diverse food requires food processors to obtain specific certifications, to assure consumers that the manufactured foods have adequate documentation of authenticity and quality of its supply chain.