Impacting food enterprises for positive social change
The Sustainable Food Enterprises minor prepares students for food industry careers with courses in food safety (ServSafe and Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points), restaurant and foodservice operations, feeding people on a large-scale, operational and policy aspects of the foodservice industry, and marketing and managing events, conferences, and workshops. These courses culminate in a senior-level Food Enterprises course, designed specifically around the concepts of “impact investing” and “social entrepreneurship,” or structuring firm operations to promote positive social outcomes.
Why this degree makes a difference in society today…tomorrow…
There continues to be growth in the consumer market for “value-based” foods that reflect a concern with issues ranging from food-worker welfare to environmental protection. For instance, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service finds that organic food sales have exhibited double-digit growth during most years since 2000 and the organic share has been growing rapidly. In 2015, the Organic Trade Association estimated U.S. organic retail sales at $43.3 billion. Organic products have shifted from being a lifestyle choice for a small segment of consumers to being consumed at least occasionally by about 45% of Americans. Fair Trade International also estimates that the fair trade market was more than $10 billion in 2016 with substantial and broad-based growth across nations and regions.
These types of shifts in industry and market structure have created a growing demand for food professionals knowledgeable about food industry practice and operations as well as the social movements around food, which often drive consumer demand. Sourcing local, organic, or fair trade products for foodservice, retail, or special events is becoming important for firms interested in pleasing consumers and catering to diverse interests.
In the 18-19 credit-hour minor, students may choose from a set of food economies courses focused on labor issues, food enterprises as urban development strategies, establishing and operating emergency feeding systems, food cooperatives, values-based certification systems such as organic and fair trade, and social justice in the food industry. Students can also choose from a set of business courses to acquire skills around marketing, entrepreneurship, event management, and more. Sample courses include:
- Food Enterprise Management
- Food Service Operations
- Introduction to Entrepreneurship and Emerging Enterprises
- Emergency Food Systems
- Essentials of Marketing
- Principles of Sport Hospitality Management
The Susan R. Klenk Learning Café and Kitchens provide tactile learning opportunities in nutrition, dietetics and culinary-related fields. The 5,000-square-foot facility includes experimental food lab and commercial kitchens, a baking nook and café. These spaces are outfitted with the same equipment found in industry-leading restaurants and culinary institutions. Under the guidance of professional chefs, students gain unlimited hands-on experiences and contribute to research projects, interdisciplinary work, and community partnerships.
Syracuse University boasts an expansive study abroad program that consistently ranks among the highest-quality in the nation. Food studies students can go to Syracuse University Florence, where the campus has a kitchen garden and they can engage in hands-on learning, complete internships, and experience first-hand the way food systems and food cultures vary around the world. For more information about study abroad, visit suabroad.syr.edu.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates a 9% growth in foodservice manager positions between 2016 and 2026 with starting salaries in the $50,000 to $60,000 range.
Program Requirements & Electives
FST 310 – Will Work for Food: Labor Across the Food Chain
FST 415 – Food Enterprise Management
NSD 114 – Food Safety and Quality Assurance
NSD 115 – Food Science I
NSD 216 – Food Service Operations
Food Economics and Business System Applications
EEE 370 – Introduction to Entrepreneurship and Emerging Enterprises
FST 304 – Farm to Fork
FST 312 – Emergency Food Systems
FST 402 – Feeding the City: Urban Food Systems
MAR 301 – Essentials of Marketing
SPM 305 – Principles of Sport Hospitality Management