Read interviews with students and a graduate from the MSc programme in Food Innovation and Health:


The many career opportunities is one great thing about the MSc in Food Innovation and Health programme, according to Ninett Andersen, who graduated in 2016. We asked how she sees her degree programme, and what it has brought her so far.

Ninett Andersen, MSc graduate from Food Innovation and Health, university of Copenhagen

Why were you originally interested in working with food and people’s relationship to it?

I think my interest and my curiosity were aroused from childhood, due to my mother and her love of cooking. She’s always been creative in the kitchen. She was particularly good at explaining why she combined different ingredients as she did. I learned very early on that the function of food is not just to fill us up – it is also about experiences and nutrition.

How did you get interested in studying Food Innovation and Health?

I did a professional bachelor degree in nutrition and health. I particularly found the teaching on nutrition for different groups – children, adults, the elderly, athletes, etc. – interesting. And not least the complexity of people’s relationship to food in Europe – and in the industrialised nations in general, where there is a high level of prosperity. I was interested in learning the theories behind the relationship between food and people.

My bachelor’s programme had a strong focus on food and small-scale meals, e.g. at home or in institutions. The master’s programme in Food Innovation and Health broadens this to food production and the food industry. I was also interested in better understanding food chemistry and design thinking in relation to product development and production.

How did you find doing the master’s programme?

I feel that the programme built solidly on top of my bachelor’s programme. I gained a deeper understanding of the absorption of nutrients, bioactive components – and food chemistry in general.

And the theory and practical exercises regarding the sensory experience of food products were very interesting. The role our senses play in relation to how we perceive food, and how we interact with products when we taste and evaluate them.

We did a course on entrepreneurship and innovation, and I also did an elective course in project management, which I was personally very happy with – because organisation and project management are extremely important in my field, and because I secretly dream of being an entrepreneur.

I feel that the programme equips you well for becoming self-employed, and I think it’s a degree programme that opens up a lot of paths. I gained a lot of experience, and the programme confirmed that consumer behaviour and sensometrics are very exciting areas.

You completed your studies in 2016 and began work as a research assistant within design and consumer behaviour at the Department of Food Science at the University of Copenhagen. What does the job involve?

The job has involved writing scientific articles and holding presentations in various forums, based on my master’s thesis, for example.

I also helped conduct the first Virtual Reality study at the department. I played a key role throughout the process – from designing the study, recruitment, data collection and data entry to analyses and writing an article.

We wanted to examine whether we can use Virtual Reality to create context when we do sensory measurements and consumer surveys. Virtual Reality is interesting because we can simulate a realistic situation in our laboratory.

This gives us full control over the situation we create, unlike when we conduct a consumer test in a supermarket where there are a lot of disruptions. We also avoid having to haul all our equipment, samples etc. out of the building, which is not only expensive, but also requires a lot of planning.

Do you use your degree programme in your daily work?

Yes, every day. I help my colleagues. We use each other as sounding boards, and always think very carefully about the way we design our studies or surveys.

I’ve been involved in project applications, and have a pretty good idea of how to work as a researcher.

When you have done a degree programme as broad as Food Innovation and Health, you also have the satisfaction of being able to use it in many different ways. That’s great.

I could do a PhD if the opportunity arises, be self-employed, develop a product or a service, do research or work in the food industry. The programme provides insight into food production, global challenges in relation to food production and consumer behaviour. As graduates, we are therefore able to see the big picture, and devise strategies – for companies and for the future of the food industry in general.

Ninett has worked as a market manager at Chr. Hansen since 2018.



Having the opportunity to develop healthy food in her future career is the reason why Signe Randbøll-Jensen, Denmark, has chosen to study Food Innovation and Health.

Signe Randbøll-Jensen, MSc student at Food Innovation and Health, University of Copenhagen

The Food Innovation and Health programme is a scientific study programme with a sociological perspective. As a BSc in Food Science, Signe has always had an interest in food and the broad perspective on food she could get from the Food Innovation and Health programme was exactly what she was looking for.

Some of the things Signe has enjoyed studying is how physics and chemistry can influence e.g. the way food tastes. Another interesting element of the programme is the insight you get in the complexity of food and the many different factors which influence our diet. But the sensory science part of the programme has been particularly interesting to Signe:

”Initially, I did not focus much on sensory science, but now I find it extremely interesting to study the many factors which come into play when we eat, such as our senses, our digestion, our memories related to food and eating, stimuli and much more”.

Collaboration With the Food Industry

Project and group work is an integrated part of the Food Innovation and Health programme which means that you spend a lot of time with your fellow students which develops your collaboration and presentation skills and prepares students for their future career:

“We learn to collaborate with many different players in the food industry in which there has not been much contact between the consumers, the industry and the technological and gastronomical experts so far. We become the mediating link”, Signe says.

Multiple Career Opportunities

As a graduate in Food Innovation and Health you have multiple career opportunities, but Signe would like to work in the food industry. Her ambition is to get the industry to make better products based on the best ingredients nature can provide for the benefit of the consumer and the reputation of the industry itself.



"I really like food and cooking, but I don’t want to work as a chef," says Julius Schneider from Germany, when he explains why he has chosen the MSc programme in Food Innovation and Health. "What I want to do is to develop food. And this programme was kind of a mix of nutritional science and practical work in the gastrolab," he says.

Julius Schneider, MSc student at Food Innovation and Health, University of Copenhagen

I really like food and cooking, but I don’t want to work as a chef. What I want to do is to develop food. And this programme was kind of a mix of nutritional science and practical work in the gastrolab.

It’s all about the science behind cooking - what happens when you cook cabbage for example – all those processes. I found it very interesting to have a nice balance of science and practical hands-on work.

Which job opportunities does this give you?

In the industry you could work for big companies like Kraft or Nestlé and develop the next chocolate bar for example. Or convenience food. Or you could work as the link between the chefs and the industry. You can be the guy who understands both sides. How they work and which techniques they use.

What’s the balance between theoretical classes and practical work in the lab?

In the beginning it’s quite theoretical. It starts with nutrition physiology, but I think there is a nice balance, because as soon as you go to sensory science for example, you have to work with the practical aspects of  food, you taste a lot and you learn the methods of how you evaluate and how to use the statistical programmes to visualize what you taste. We had two sensory science classes – that was the main focus actually. It’s basically about how you evaluate food with your senses. 

And then finally in ‘Innovation and Entrepreneurship’, the main class, you are in the kitchen almost every day cooking and evaluating. For instance, you are in the red cabbage group one day, and you have to make a soup, pickles, salad – maybe nine different ways to prepare this specific food, which you would never do at home – to make you understand how different techniques influence the final product.

The techniques that you learn in the sensory science classes are used again in the innovation class. ‘Napping’ for instance, which is a sensory science technique to evaluate flavours. This means you can use in practice what you’ve learned before.

You are writing your thesis right now. What is your subject?

It’s about food psychology. How the plate sizes influence your choice of food. The hypothesis is that if you are hungry and you for instance have to choose food from a menu card with photos, you will go for a small plate rather than for a big plate.

When you compare the pictures, the food looks bigger on a small plate because of the outer circle of the plate. Even if it is exactly the same amount of food on the two plates. It’s called the Delbeouf illusion. It will be interesting to see if this also works with real food, because it hasn’t really been shown.

How do you find the level at the university?

It’s not very demanding. In a lot of exams, you can use your books, which I like a lot, because it’s not about learning by heart, it’s about knowing how to find information, and knowing how to adapt this knowledge to the case they put in the exam.

We have many half days, and we always have one day free during the week. Especially the guys from Spain and France, where the schools are really tough, are surprised by this.

But University of Copenhagen has a very good reputation. The point is, that the level is nice and not too stressful. You can have a normal life, and that’s the good thing about it. But it’s not super demanding. Of course, there are times, when we are working late at night to write a report, but it’s not like you don’t have any free time.

Do you miss Germany?

Not really. It’s not that far away. Actually I’m going to Germany next week. And I’m going to Cologne in October. I and my friend Alex have formed a company, and we have qualified for the finals in the Ecotrophelia competition. The Ecotrophelia is a prize in food innovation and sustainability. And the finals are in Cologne, and we are going to compete with 20 other nations.

What is your project?

We are combining slow food and fast food – cooking after the slow food philosophy, and then we put the food into a glass jar with vacuum and an airtight sealing with a rubber band. It’s a whole dish – you can reheat in in the microwave oven.

So you have a high-quality convenience food, which is cooked by real chefs and by hand – that’s the whole concept. And then we have the packaging which we put a refund on, so the people come back to the shop and bring back the packaging, so there is no packaging waste.

Tell me about your company …

It’s called Coquo, which means ‘I cook’ in Latin. The university supported us with a 35,000 DKK funding, which was a good help in the beginning, so we could buy all the glass jars and do the catering.

We started one year ago – actually in the context of a course on the master programme where you have to develop a product. This French guy, Alex, had this idea about putting food in jars. I joined his group and the two of us decided to develop the product and make a company out of it.

During the course, we did the whole scientific part about the sensory science, and evaluated the texture of the food and so on, and after the class we continued and had our first catering jobs. We did a big catering for 300 people and one for 150.

And then we applied for a stand at Roskilde Festival (a big Danish music festival, ed.), where we made French fries in duck fat and some sandwiches. It was quite a success, people really loved that. And one month ago we opened our shop at Torvehallerne (a food market in the center of Copenhagen, ed.), the best place for selling food. We built our own wooden house in Alex’ backyard with some help from a carpenter, and brought it by hand and carts to Torvehallerne. Now it’s running quite well.