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 Food Diversity Certificate offered by the Department of Food Science and Technology, 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.
Activities and Events
IFANCA Graduate Fellowships
Two IFANCA Graduate Fellowships, each valued at $22,000, were announced for fall of 2023. The fellowship aims to support new PhD students admitted to the Food Science & Technology program.
Fall 2023 IFANCA Graduate Fellowship Winners:
Elizabeth Culpepper (Faculty Advisor: Steve Talcott)
Evans Wanyama (Faculty Advisor: Joseph Awika)
November 17th, 2022
IFANCA-Food Diversity Innovation Program’s Annual Symposium
Food Diversity Symposium on “Current Trends in the Food Industry- Challenges and Strategies”
IFANCA Freshman Scholarships
The IFANCA Freshman scholarships, each valued at $4,000 were awarded to two new freshmen, Emmalee Rogers and Mallory Morelli admitted to the Food Science Department in Fall of 2022.
FSTC’s First Annual Alumni Dinner co-sponsored by IFANCA
Mar. 2022 SXSW Future of Food Roundtable discussion
Building Consumer Confidence: The Intersection of Religion, Labeling & Food Security
Roundtable Discussion (50min) Hosted by Islamic Food and Nutrition Council of America (IFANCA) on the topics of Halal, Consumer Education, and Ethical Supply Chains. More information..
The first international symposium on Food Diversity was held at Texas A&M University on February 21 & 22, 2019. National and international leaders from the food Industry presented at the symposium. In addition, it provided an excellent opportunity for students to present their research and interact and learn from key members of the food Industry
Food Diversity Hands-On Training