Surrey University Stag


Module code: BMS2042

Module Overview

This module is very rich in food science content and builds upon the basic food science concepts introduced in BMS1027 and BMS1057. This module will also set the basis for the module BMS2078 (Sem 2) as well as covering topics that will further expanded in BMS3070 (processes) and BMS3059 (Maillard Reaction). 
BMS2042 is designed to give our students an in depth understanding of key aspects of food science and is complimentary to what is thought in BMS2041.
This module is of extreme importance for nutrition and nutrition and dietetics student who will get the only change to appreciate how Food Science, Nutrition and Dietetics are interrelated and essential to one another. The module will introduce students to the main reactions happening in foods (browning, chemical reactions, enzymatic reactions) alongside the main ingredients used as additives in complex food formulation s. The attention is then shifted to an introduction to processes (which will be further covered in-depth in BMS3070 with a focus on novel processes/minimally processed foods) as well as  covering aspects related to preservation and perception of foods.

 As mentioned above, this module is not only essential for Food Science and Nutrition students, but is also  important component of the Nutrition  and Dietetics programs, as it links these to the study of food and its chemistry.

Module provider

School of Biosciences

Module Leader

GIACINTUCCI Veronica (Biosciences)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 5

JACs code: D610

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 61

Lecture Hours: 20

Tutorial Hours: 2

Guided Learning: 18

Captured Content: 49

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites

BMS1027 Food Science and Nutrition

Module content

  • Maillard Reaction, Caramelisation, Enzymatic and non-enzymatic oxidation: these are the main reactions that will happen in foods during processing (but also during storage as a spoilage reaction. Most of them are desirable, some others need to be avoided in order to prevent qualitative decay and preserve food safety).

  • Food Colours: identifying the natural food colourings that are used as natural colourants, students will understand to which extent the use of such additives is a cleaner and sustainable choice. There will be an overview on synthetic colourants too.

  • Additives (sweeteners, miscellaneous, antioxidants, stabilizers, thickeners): students will have an appreciation of the range of additives (natural and synthetic) that are used in food formulations. Some of these additives like emulsifiers have a natural origin and come from different parts of the world. An eye on sustainability is kept when analysing labels.

  • Perception: taste and smell

  • Food Processing (blanching, cooking, pasteurization, sterilization): students will understand how processes are used to produce and preserve foods as well as what are the chemical consequences of such processes on foods.

  • Principles of Food Preservation: a brief overview over food preservation against spoilage reactions, spoilage microorganisms and pathogens (in line with what is taught in BMS2041).

  • Plant Preservation

  • Functional Foods and GMO Foods: discussion on current global and sustainable trends regarding functional foods and GMO. This will be recalled in BMS2078 too.

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework LABEL REPORT 40
Oral exam or presentation PRESENTATION 60

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate:


Their  understanding of and key areas of food science especially related to change in products quality and chemistry due to processes, the main additives and their functionalities, legislation and preservation.

The assessment strategy aims at having students understand how the topics are strictly interrelated.

The written assignment and oral presentation will give students space for critical thinking and reflections as well as helping them develop writing and communication skills .


  Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:


Label report (CW1) (around week 6/7) 40% (1500 words). For this assignment, the module leader will offer a list of food labels, the student will only need to choose one. The written report will help students understand real life food labels and apply the knowledge from the first lectures taught in the first weeks.

The report will help students develop writing and analytical skills as well as develop their professionalism and critical thinking in the area of food science.

Presentation (CW2) (around week 11) 60% : students will investigate and understand the chemical changes that will happen in common commercially available products during production.

Students will produce a presentation based on on how the product is treated thus highlighting the characterizing processes and how they affect the finished product in terms of colour development, flavour production, presence of oxidation etc.

Students will then cover aspects related to preservation and the main spoilage mechanisms that can happen in a specific food matrix according to pH, water activity, composition and storage conditions. These type of assessment will give the chance to students to revise most of the module content and see it applied in real life. This assessment will develop their research skills, critical thinking, communication skills and professionalism towards food science (and nutrition) related topics.

Students will work and present in groups and will be able to choose the product they want to talk about from a list of products given by the module leader.


Formative assessment and feedback:

There are also a number of specific revision and feedback tutorials for formative assessment in form of in-class revision sessions or as drop-ins (online) that are organized by the Module Leader in consultation with students.

There are not only occasions for students to get some feedback but also feedforward in preparation for their assessments.

Feedback is also provided via comments on their submitted text, in full writing and orally via drop-ins or during in-class tutorials/revisions.






Module aims

  • Examine three key browning reactions which might occur during commercial processing and storage and/or institutional and domestic food preparation.
  • Provide an appreciation of Maillard reaction, including the basic chemistry and particularly its significance in determining food acceptability
  • Provide an appreciation of the important role of ascorbate as an additive in food and to examine its degradation and browning reactions
  • Provide an appreciation of the mechanisms of taste and smell and how these influence food choice.
  • Provide an appreciation of the regulatory and technological classification of food additives and their roles in food
  • Provide an appreciation of the effects of food processing and domestic/institutional food preparation on the nutrient and anti-nutrient content of foods
  • Provide an appreciation of the types and causes of food spoilage, and the scientific principles utilised in the safe preservation of foods
  • Provide a brief introduction to functional foods and genetically modified foods and to discuss their potential future applications
  • Give students the opportunity to put their learning into practice using a product development exercise in which they seek to develop food science solutions to produce an improved product

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Illustrate and describe (with simple formulae and equations) the basic reactions of non-enzymic browning and Explain, giving examples, how these reactions influence food acceptability, for better or worse, via changes in colour, odour, nutrient retention, etc KPT
002 Understand the mechanisms of taste and smell and how these influence food choice K
003 Classify food additives by function giving examples of additives and applications including an explanation of the mechanism(s) by which they function (including sweeteners, thickeners, stabilisers, colourants, additives and miscellaneous additives) KPT
004 Explain the factors that influence nutrient and anti-nutrient loss and destruction during food processing/preparation and storage, and place this in a dietary perspective KC
005 Explain the physical, chemical and biochemical mechanisms underlying food preservation and how deleterious changes can be minimised. KCPT
006 Understand the concepts of novel foods and genetically modified foods, and the benefits and concerns associated with these. KC

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to

•           build upon the basic food science concepts introduced in BMS 1027 (FHEQ 4 Food Science)

•           to give students an in depth understanding of key aspects of food science including browning reactions, the perception of food, the use of additives, and food spoilage and preservation.

•           The module will focus also on a wide variety of ingredients used as additives and as a consequence, our students will have an understanding of the main regulated additives used in food formulations as well as an understanding of the main food regulations related to these.

•           These are the are key areas of FHEQ5 Food Science and link nutrition and dietetics to the production of food.


 This module will be highly beneficial to those enrolled in BMS2078 which normally runs in  semester 2 but also for BMS3070 and BMS3059, L6 modules.


The learning and teaching methods include:


• Lectures 

 Lectures and tutorials include investigation of real product labels and discussions on food processing techniques. These activities are designed to develop students’ critical thinking and curiosity around the novel trends in terms of additive types and processes within food science.

Students and the lecturer usually look at some labels from real life products and try to understand how the label is complying with the current legislation as well as identifying clean, natural-based additives and discussing on their functionalities and uses with a particular eye on EU legislation but also, in some cases, global regulations.

The in-class and online lectures as well as the discussions are a very effective training for students working towards their CW1 (and CW2). The discussions are a perfect occasion to reflect on what is needed for their assessments thus building more confidence for students.

Moreover, these activities are designed to boost the interaction of students with each other as well as with the teaching staff thus developing team work and, in some cases, leadership skills. Students will be able to integrate the lecture content  with independent reading (from the reading list) and learning.


Before submission, the module leader usually sets up online drop-in sessions where students can participate asking questions and venting out doubts. This is a good occasion for students to get further feedforward.


Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: BMS2042

Other information

Employability: This module will provide students with a theoretical and a working knowledge of the  fundamental aspects of food science (from food production, to preservation to perception). This module builds up on the content from BMS1027 and BMS1057 in L4 and is complementary to BMS2041. This module will enable students develop their critical thinking and independent learning as well as a component of team working which is mostly related to in-class discussions and activities. Transferable skills that are developed thanks to this module are then: critical thinking, creative thinking, writing skills, ability to recap complex content into a brief document.

Digital capabilities: Students are encouraged to collaborate and interact with each other and the module leader via the use of platforms such as Teams or Zoom as these are digital tools that they will most likely keep using once their university journey is over and out in the job market. Students can interact with their peers or the module leader via sharing their screens and using the whiteboard as well as engaging in  conversations during online tutorials/revisions or pre-submissions drop-ins organised by the module leader. As with all modules, students are expected to engage with online materials and resources via SurreyLearn.

While a selection of relevant literature (e.g. books, original research papers, systematic reviews and meta-analyses) will be provided, students are also encouraged to familiarise themselves with searching and retrieving peer-reviewed literature from online databases (e.g. PubMed, Scopus) and identifying good sources versus questionable ones.

Global and cultural capabilities: students will develop an appreciation of legislation systems and how to navigate food labels’ regulations in the different areas of the world (Americas, Europe, Asia etc.) as well as understanding the distribution and availability of determined components of foods used as additives.

Sustainability: students will be aware of the sustainability aspects of the additives studied. They will appreciate what will affect their availability, costs and perception from the consumer when used in complex food formulations. By studying and evaluating labels (and clean labels), students will give particular attention to sustainability aspects (this will also apply to processes).

Resourcefulness and resilience: this  module will require critical thinking and the ability to analyze aspects of food production that are characteristics of food. This will involve independent and guided learning. Students will be able to independently assess additives and food labels. This module will enable students to further develop their critical thinking helping them integrate information from science and regulatory aspects in order to let them appreciate the boundaries and opportunities of working with food systems (according to their region). By the end of the module, students will understand challenges, limitation and opportunities of food additives, an appreciation of the main processes and how they will affect food quality and perception. This module will also touch microbiological aspects related to food safety. 







Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Nutrition BSc (Hons) 1 Core Each unit of assessment must be passed at 40% to pass the module
Food Science and Nutrition BSc (Hons) 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Nutrition and Dietetics BSc (Hons) 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2024/5 academic year.