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The food industry is closely linked to a societys lifestyle. Although the food industry is in good health, it must nevertheless undergo a continuous process of adaptation. Adaptation through innovation is therefore necessary to adjust to the rapid changes in eating habits, which are determined by our way of life.
Food accounts for around 20% of the Spanish populations total expenditure. Changes in the structure of the family are a major factor that the food sector must take into account. All experts would seem to agree that the sector must rely on research and development in order to guarantee that businesses can adapt their products to consumers basic demands.
The obsession with health and safety is a defining feature of the food industry; creativity is subject to quality, safety and comfort. Higher standards of living are associated with greater potential spending on commodities with greater added value, together with better packaging, useful shelf life, flavour, etc. These standards are achieved through proper management, innovation and technological development.
The food industry aims to increase the quality of its products, improve consumer confidence and promote modernisation, technological development and environmental suitability.
This Masters Degree is the result of a process of reflection launched in 2006, in which lecturers, professionals and representatives from the agri-food sector, and the UdL Board of Trustees gave their views on the type of trained professionals that were required by the food industry and the skills they should have. Issues such as food safety and quality, innovations in products and processes, differentiation, marketing and internationalisation emerged from this process of reflection and were included as part of in this Masters Degree.
The private food sector is constantly changing, both from a technological point of view, which requires staff in the industry to constantly update its knowledge, and as regards the development of new products and processes.
This Masters Degree is intended to train technically able professionals who have an acute awareness of the realities of the sector. These professionals will be able to competently manage the quality and performance of a business, as well as to bring about innovation in a highly competitive environment. As the Masters Degree was set up in response to demand from the sector, it aims to ensure that our training meets the sectors needs insofar as is possible.
Therefore, in addition to more technical aspects, the course has a module that approaches the sector in terms of business management. This module was added following the suggestion of the professionals who currently work in agri-food industries, such as engineers, agronomists and graduates in food science and technology.
The UdL is located in a largely agricultural area where livestock and the processing of raw products are of great social and economic importance. In order to ensure the quality and safety of products on the market, the competitiveness of the food industry must be maintained, if not improved. It must likewise increase its added value by developing new products and processes. This entails having an understanding of consumer needs, optimising production methods, and using new technologies and the appropriate combination of techniques to achieve the maximum degree of sustainability.
The course places emphasis on three food areas, namely fruit and vegetables, vegetable oils and meat derivatives. The reasons for this emphasis are the economic and social impact that these industries have on our immediate surroundings and the existence of leading research groups in these fields at the UdL.
* Knowledge of quality systems.
* Control and optimisation of processes and products.
* Evaluation, monitoring and management of food quality.
* Implementation of quality systems.
* Standardisation and regulations that apply to food.
* Aspects of personal hygiene, products and processes.
* Analysis and assessment of food risks.
* Management of food safety.
* Problem solving.
* Management and control of merchandising and marketing operations.
* Supervision, management and control in business organisations.
Within the specific field of fruit and vegetables, vegetable oils and meat products:
* Production and preservation of food.
* Planning and development of technical surveys.
* Planning and development of R&D activities.
* Development of new processes and products.
* Implementation of knowledge gained during the practicum.
* Concern about quality.
* Ability for organising and scheduling all documents generated by activities and quality systems.
* Teamwork among the staff involved in production in the food industry (production, quality, sales, etc.).
* Time management.
* Command of spoken and written language.
* Commitment to ethical issues.
* Capacity for information management.
* Creativity applied to the innovation of products and processes.
* Initiative and entrepreneurial spirit.
* The acquisition of skills such as adapting to changing situations in the industry, thinking in a critical manner and making decisions should figure high in the practicum.
Students will carry out a research project at other institutions and companies to supplement their knowledge with practical skills. The inclusion of professionals and lecturers from outside the University (from the food industry, research centres and other Spanish or European institutions) and their participation in European projects and thematic networks of excellence will facilitate student mobility.
Language/s used for tuition,
The Masters Degree will be mainly taught in Spanish, although English and Catalan may also be used depending on the students and lecturers on the course.
Admissions to the Masters Degree are subject to candidates holding a bachelors degree, a first- or second-cycle Spanish diploma or a foreign qualification accredited by the Ministry of Science and Innovation. Students in possession of non-accredited foreign degrees who have a level of training that is equivalent to a Spanish bachelors degree shall be admitted at the discretion of the University of Lleida. According to the Royal Decree 1393/2007 of 30 October 2007, admission to masters degree courses will require prospective students to hold an official university degree.
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