31 students from 11 different countries started the "endeavour" to study the Master "International Food Business and Consumer Studies" (IFBC) – a joint degree programme of the Fulda University of Applied Sciences and the Kassel University.
During two introductory days at our universities – Kassel University at Campus Witzenhausen on Monday and Fulda University of Applied Sciences on Tuesday – we had the chance to get a deeper insight in our academic institutions and to hear and understand more about our Master programme.
In the next three days, we were introduced to the challenges of the food value chain – one of the core subjects of the IFBC programme – by participating in field trips with the focus on "farm – food – fork".
Representative for the topic “farm” we visited the “Domäne Frankenhausen”, the research farm of the University of Kassel. Prof. Dr. von Fragstein und Niemsdorff explained the difference between conventional and organic farming. For the international students it was exciting to learn about the daily challenges of the farming in Germany compared to the farms in their countries of origins.
Representative for the topic “food” we visited the Doehler Group in Darmstadt. The company presented us insights in product management “flavors”, product management “B2B”, and sensory science. Surprising fact for us: Nearly 80 per cent of all supermarket products contain products of the Doehler group such as flavours, colorants, concentrates etc. The presentations were accompanied by exercises. We participated in a multi-sensory experience test experiencing how colour and smell in food influences our perception. In a last session we worked in small groups on a fictive case study. Our task was to design a new innovative energy-drink and present it to the audience. To complete an overall impression we had the chance to talk to interns of the IFBC and graduates of Fulda University who are currently working at Doehler.
Representative for the topic “consumer” we visited the company Nestlé in Frankfurt. Beginning with a visit at the “Maggi Kochstudio” we had a presentation of their work in the city center of Frankfurt. The Kochstudio is "the flag-store" of Maggi - enabling them to create a personal contact with consumers. Consumers not only buy the products there, but also taste it, attend cooking classes or watch cooking videos of food bloggers. The second part was at the Nestlé Competence Center were a graduated of Fulda university together with another representative welcomed us. They took us on an exciting journey around the topic of the history of Nestlé, of nutrition and how Nestlé improve the recipes and ingredients to reduce diabetes and other diseases of civilization, social challenges and future cooking.
On behalf of all IFBC students, I would like to thank our two IFBC coordinators – Ute Gilles and Helga Keil – for organising the Freshers’ week. Additional thanks to everyone who was involved. The introductory days have given us the opportunity to get to know the core idea of our study programme, to get in touch with future employers and to grow closer among us as a student group. We are excited to continue with this promising programme.
(Text: Izabela Horoz, 1st semester student IFBC 2017; photos: Claire Holch and Helga Keil, Hochschule Fulda)