Food innovation and entrepreneurship in higher education: a case study

Susana C. Fonseca, Rita Pinheiro, Carla Barbosa, Alberta Araújo, Manuela Vaz-Velho, Rui Alves


Food innovation and entrepreneurship are important topics in graduate food studies. Students should be challenged to promote an innovative attitude towards their future career in the food industry sector, as professionals working in a small and medium-sized enterprise, or in a large multinational company, or even as entrepreneurs with their own working projects. The present case study shows a curricular unit of a master course that intends to integrate the knowledge on new and sustainable technologies and products, based on seminars of experts on hot topics, on visits to food industry enterprises and market expositions and on the development of a state-of-the-art report about an emergent or novel food technology or product with oral presentation. Hot topic seminars included edible coatings, bioprocessing, allying tradition and innovation in food products, new convenience foods, challenging tests, and new clean and sustainable processes. Entrepreneur alumni lectures were also promoted allowing exchange of experiences. Visits included a high pressure technology unit of a food industry, an innovation and development department of a food industry, an entrepreneurship centre and a food exhibition. A satisfaction survey was made, through the response of a questionnaire by the students, proving the effectiveness and success of this unit course framework. A SWOT analysis was carried out to gain a better understanding of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats involved in the curricular unit objectives.


food industry; satisfaction survey; food studies

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