Expert Enlightens Chemistry Department Students on the Role of Chemistry in Food Product Development
The Department of Chemistry recently held its first Town and Gown Seminar for the Omega Semester titled, ‘The Role of Chemistry in Food Product Development.’ The lecture centred on the conceptual presentation of Chemistry as “food chemistry,” a key area of food science which is intimately related to chemistry, biochemistry, molecular biology and other biological sciences.
During his lecture, the Guest Speaker, Mr. Christopher Ofuani, who is also the Deputy Director, Food Registration Division, Registration & Regulatory Affairs Directorate, National Agency for Food Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), stated that food chemistry deals with the composition and properties of food, and the chemical changes it undergoes during handling, processing, and storage.
He explained that food is any item ingested for nutrition and physiological growth, including ingredients used in food production but excludes medicines, tobacco and live animals. Mr. Ofuani defined ‘Product development’ as a process in which new food product ideas are generated and the products are created and marketed. “It involves the conceptualization, formulation, processing, testing and marketing of new products. Modifying existing products for better quality is also part of product development,” he added.
Explaining further, Mr. Ofuani stated, “Chemistry is key to understanding food science principles. All the changes that occur during processing affect the chemical composition of foods. Food chemistry provides the basic knowledge for the conversion of these changes into new product development. With the knowledge of the reactions and the factors that lead to alterations in texture, colour, flavour, nutritive value and food safety, food scientists are able to control these alterations to produce the desired food products.”
He concluded that a strong knowledge base would help a food company to secure its share of the market, while reducing the time between product development and introduction of new products in the market.
In his remarks, the Head, Department of Chemistry, Professor Kolawole Ajanaku, appreciated the Guest Speaker, members of the Chemistry Department and members of the College of Science and Technology for their contributions to the success of the event. He also appreciated the Management of the University for putting such an impactful platform in place for the benefit of not only the students, but the entire University Community.
Present at the event were the Director, Vice-Chancellor’s Office, Dr Akan Williams; members of the Department of Chemistry and members of the College of Science and Technology (CST).