Sustainable Solutions Today

Sustainable solutions today


RISING totals at supermarket checkouts are the classic example of how the food industry bites into our lives. 

A fundamental area so often overlooked, food supply – or rather, the lack of it – is now in the spotlight and this should continue in line with the deteriorating global food situation. 

Given the erratic climate, countries are investing in new food products and technologies. Malaysia is one of them and the Government has long stated its ambitions of becoming a global food technology and Halal hub. 

To realise this, a large pool of skilled human capital must be created and the onus is on universities to deliver. 

Seeking to contribute, UCSI University reached out to postgraduate learners with the launch of two new Master programmes, namely, the MSc Food Science and the MSc Food Science with Business Management. 

An interactive launch themed Better Food, Sustainable Growth, a Healthier Nation was held in conjunction with the launch of the two programmes and leading figures in the local food industry came together to share insights. 

Among them was Malaysian Institute of Food Technology president Dr Nik Ismail Nik Daud who elucidated the commercialisation process from the laboratory to the market. 

Speaking from three decades of experience in academia, Dr Nik Ismail warned that researchers should not be under any illusions as commercialisation was no easy task. 

“Most research on new food products have quite a low success rate,” he said in his speech at UCSI’s Le Quadri Hotel Ballroom. “There are many complications involved – from securing funding to determining ideal product life cycles – and researchers cannot afford to work in silo. 

“Apart from funding, academicians need to look into other things like intellectual property protection, prospective revenue streams and risk assessment, among others. 

“Essentially, food scientists need people in business, marketing, finance, engineering and quality analysis. Finding the right partners is not easy and forging a successful collaboration is another matter altogether.” 

Picking up where he left off, Fonterra Brands (M) Sdn Bhd head of new product development Megawati Suzarigave an industrial perspective of new product development and pointed out that academicians often fell short at the feasibility stage. 

Having seen many truncated projects in her 17-year-career, Megawati said that academicians would do good to proceed with a little caution when it came to expectations and projections. 

“Academicians really need to consider all the stakeholders who are involved in the commercialisation process,” she said. 

“A product may get good initial response from marketeers and the business community but one must not forget regulatory bodies and the Health Ministry, whose objectives are to uphold public health at all costs. 

“And getting the green light in Malaysia may not be enough if a grand launch is being planned as different regulatory bodies in different countries adopt different health standards.” 

Post-commercialisation reviews were another area where academicians were often found wanting and Megawati stressed the need to analyse market response to a product in the long run. 

New products, she opined, should also be developed according to health projections around the world. 

“Research and statistics indicate that more than 50% of all osteoporosis patients will come from Asia by 2050 and in Malaysia, one in three people are at risk,” she said, making her point. 

“With these data, food scientists could concentrate their research endeavours to come up with new food products that address the situation.” 

A deeper understanding 

Both speakers agreed that interdisciplinary programmes were one way to groom the next generation of food scientists. 

“Academicians need to focus on other areas apart from research – their core expertise – and a Food Science programme with elements of business is ideal,” said Megawati. 

“By exposing learners to Blue Ocean Strategy – a business strategy that seeks to win uncontested market space – UCSI’s new Master programmes do this and more. I’m sure the programmes will be a success. 

As the only private university in Malaysiathat offers a coursework-based pathway in Food Science at the time of writing, UCSI is set to strike a chord with professionals who intend to pursue postgraduate qualifications without affecting their careers. 

To prepare learners for a fast-track career in the multi-billion-dollar food industry, extensive collaboration was done with industry experts and leading companies to incorporate industrial best practices into the curriculum framework. “With these data, food scientists could concentrate their research endeavours to come up with new food products that address the situation.” 

A deeper understanding 

Both speakers agreed that interdisciplinary programmes were one way to groom the next generation of food scientists. h on Progyms’ Shinzui collagen-placenta drinks, a product line thats assist skin regeneration and improve skin elasticity. 

product line thats assist skin regeneration and improve skin elasticity. 

Describing the MoA as a “healthy example of university-industry collaboration,” UCSI vice-chancellor Dr Robert Bong said that the move would only benefit both parties. 

“CS Progyms is a pioneer manufacturer of healthcare products in Malaysia that has been accredited with various international quality certifications like ISO 9001, HACCP, GMP, Halal and VHM,” said Dr Bong at the MoA ceremony that was held at UCSI’s Le Quadri Ballroom Hotel. 

“Their product range is extensive and it is a privilege for UCSI to collaborate with them as it will create more research and development opportunities.” 

CS Progyms was represented by chief financial controller Natalie Soh Wan Yung while UCSI deputy vice-chancellor (Academic Affairs and Research) Emeritus Prof Dr Lim Koon Ong represented the University in the inking of the documents. 

To find out more about UCSI University’s MScFood Science and MSc Food Science with Business Management programmes, visit us on our Open Days from Dec 22 to 23 or contact our counsellors at 03-9101 8880. The Office of Postgraduate Studies may also be contacted at 03-9102 4739from Monday to Friday (9am – 6pm). Direct enquiries about the School may also be made online at www.ucsiuniversity.edu.my/onlineenquiry. 

One may also visit the UCSI University website at www.ucsiuniversity.edu.my