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Food Product Development
FNH 303
Instructor: Dr. Christine Scaman
Office: FNH 247
Office Hours: I do not have formal office hours. Please contact me to arrange a meeting.
Class Schedule:
Important Course Pages
Lecture Notes
Course Discussion

Course Overview

New product design is an integral part of the food industry. This course will introduce students to concepts in food product formulation and development. The function of various food additives, approaches to statistical design, and sensory evaluation will be addressed in lectures and applied in a case study.

Course Co/Pre-requisites: FNH 301 (Food Chemistry); LFS 252 (or equivalent)

Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete this course will be able to:

  • Apply the steps involved in developing a food product including formulation, safety, labeling, packaging, regulatory requirements, evaluation of shelf-life, and sensory evaluation.
  • Differentiate between the characteristics of various food additives to select the additive appropriate for a specific application.
  • Choose an appropriate experimental design for product development based on the objective of the study, number of factors, and other practical considerations
  • Design and carry out an appropriate sensory evaluation of a product, with statistical analysis, to meet a specific objective.
  • Work effectively as a group member and communicate information clearly and logically in oral and written formats.

Course Organization:

  • Lectures: weeks 1 - 9 with 5 quizzes
  • Team based learning- 1 case: Weeks 10 - 13
  • Lectures and instructional support materials will be given in first part of the course that will introduce students to the concepts necessary to complete the case study. In the second part of the course, students, working in teams, will apply the concepts to their own product development case. Teams will be given class periods to develop their case. Each team will present their case to the class; a video of the presentation will be posted on Connect. It is expected that all students will attend all class sessions set aside for the group work.
  • Each team will do a critique of another team’s presentation that is assigned to them. One class is scheduled for groups to summarize their critique as a team and submit it on Connect.

Case Criteria

Students will be assigned to a group of 6-8 students. Each group must select specific criteria for the objective, commodity, and experimental design for their case as noted below.

  1. Objective
    • New product line
    • Match to a competitor’s product
    • Replacement of an ingredient or change to a processing step of an existing product
  2. Commodity
    • Fruit or vegetable based
    • Muscle tissue / protein based
    • Carbohydrate / grains based
  3. Experimental Design
    • Mixture Design
    • (Fractional) factorial
    • Sequential (simplex, centroid)

A group may select a current food trend and develop a food idea for that trend, or a product development contest. Examples are listed on the “Guidelines for Product Development Cases” pdf available on Connect.

Course Evaluation:


25% 5 quizzes (individual 3% each and team 2% each)

Note: if you miss a quiz, the marks will be distributed to the remaining quizzes

5% Clicker questions and on-line questions (participation / correct answers)
20%* Case study - written report
5%* Oral Presentation of one case
5%* Critique of one assigned case
40% Final exam - Open book exam

Note: a peer factor will be used as a multiplier for the case component of the course (30%)

Evaluation Details

  • Quizzes: Short in-class quizzes will be completed by each individual student, followed immediately by teams completing the same quiz, and then a review of the quiz in class. The objective of the quiz is to ensure that basic concepts are understood by all students.
  • Case: Groups will present their case in a Powerpoint (or similar) presentation to the class. Presentations will be video-taped and available on Connect. The details of each case will also be submitted as a written report (1 per group, electronic and hard copy). The written report will be due at the beginning of class approximately one week after the oral presentation.

Evaluation of Written Report on Cases

  • Product Description: 25%
    • Commodity selected and the description of the product nature, potential market segment that is targeted
    • Ingredients used in product formulation, including function and rationale for selection of specific components
    • Include reference to specific regulatory requirements for this product
  • Experimental Design for Formulation: 25%
    • Rational for selected experimental design selected to achieve case objective
    • Listing of experiments that will be conducted, with experimental parameters and methods of evaluating the outcome
    • Describe the appropriate statistical evaluation of the data collected
  • Sensory Evaluation 25%
    • Description of sensory evaluation tests that will be used to achieve case objective
    • Describe the appropriate statistical evaluation of the data collected
  • Other considerations 15%
    • Specific food safety considerations for this product
    • Appropriate supporting references
  • Grammar, spelling, presentation 10%

Oral Presentation Evaluation (equal weighting of the follow criteria)

  • Organization of material (Clear, logical structure)
  • Voice (inflection, clarity, loudness, pace)
  • Posture and gestures (Good eye contact, confident, no distracting gestures, professional, etc.)
  • Use of visual aids (clear, effective)
  • Enthusiasm and participation by all group members

Critique of assigned presentation (equal weighting to the follow criteria)

  • Discussion of the positive aspects of the material presented as well as the areas that need to be improved. In all cases, you must provide a clear justification for each point in your assessment
  • Must be in paragraph format
  • Examples of points to discuss in your critique: Your critique can include but should not be limited to, the following:
  • Objective/ Product Description:
    • Was product concept clearly presented
    • Was the formulation and the additives used in the product appropriate?
    • Will the product be legal to sell in Canada as described?
  • Experimental Design
    • Experiments presented in sufficient detail to understand?
    • Appropriate design selective for objective?
    • Realistic approach to replication/ statistical evaluation?
  • Sensory Evaluation
    • Experiments presented in sufficient detail to understand?
    • Appropriate test selected for objective?
  • Other considerations
    • Were appropriate safety aspects for the product addressed?
  • Presentation skills of the group

Rubrics are available for both case presentation and case critique on Connect.

Readings / Text / Electronic resources

Academic Integrity

The integrity of academic work depends on the honesty of all those who work and study at the university and the acknowledgement of the work of others through careful citation of all sources used in your work. Plagiarism and other forms of academic misconduct are treated as serious offences at UBC, whether committed by faculty, staff, or students.

You should be aware of the sections of the University Calendar that address academic integrity (,286,0,0) and plagiarism ( The UBC library also has a useful web-based Plagiarism Resource Centre ( that explains what plagiarism is and how to avoid it. The copying of passages from any sources, without proper reference will be considered plagiarism. If you have questions or concerns about any of these policies or conventions in relation to how they apply to the work you do in this course, please discuss them with me.

Course Schedule (subject to change)

  • Week 1 ( Jan 3, 5)
    • Course introduction
    • Overview of the process of product development
      • Concept development and evaluation
    • Formulations
      • Ingredient sourcing, costing of production
      • Scaling up
      • Shelf life
    • Other considerations in product development
      • Product safety, labeling, regulations, marketing, environmental issues, waste management,
    • Assignment - watch : (17:34) and complete the ed.TED lesson
  • Week 2-4 (Jan 10, 12, 17, 19, 24, 26)
    • Experimental design
      • Mixture Design
      • (Fractional) factorial
      • Response surface methods
      • Group Assignment: data analysis (Not marked)
  • Week 5-6 (Jan 31 Feb 2, 7, 9)
    • Sensory analysis and statistical evaluation of data
      • Physical Requirements for Sensory Evaluation
      • Discriminative test panel
      • Descriptive analysis
  • Week 7 (Feb 14, 16)
    • Sensory analysis and statistical evaluation of data
      • Affective testing
      • Marketing/ consumer testing
  • Week 8-9 (Feb 28, Mar 2, 7, 9)
    • Note Mid-term break Feb 20 – 24)
    • Food additives
      • Flavours, colourants, emulsifiers, stabilizers, antioxidants, enzymes, phosphate, sweeteners, misc
        • Properties, mechanism, roles, types
  • Week 10-11 (March 14, 16, 21, 23)
    • Class time for group work on Case
  • Week 12 (March 28, 30)
    • Group presentations in class; video posted on Connect
  • Week 13 (April 4, 6)
    • Group presentations in class; video posted on Connect
    • Preparation of group critique of presentation and submission to Connect
    • Class review; course evaluation survey