Food for Thought

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Food for Thought

It constitutes 50 percent of the global economic activity. Twenty percent of all U.S. employment is related to the industry. The human race would not survive without it.

The food industry.

It is an absolute standard yet its landscape is rapidly changing as the growing world population puts greater demands on the food system. This is creating critical challenges to managers who need to be proficient in their understanding of the business and economics to remain competitive and sustainable.

“More than ever, the food industry demands leaders who can think strategically and globally, have a solid understanding of business and economic principles, and an appreciation for the unique aspects, idiosyncrasies, complexities, and challenges of the food industry,” says ASU Food Industry Management (FIM) faculty member Mark Manfredo.

ASU has designed a FIM program specific to the needs of the food industry with an eye to the future. The program is unique in that it has been developed in close coordination with partners in the food industry to help ensure graduates have the knowledge and skills needed to become immediate leaders in the industry. Students experience the best of both worlds: real-world expertise combined with world-renowned research.

In the program, students combine core courses in other business disciplines (finance, marketing, management, accounting, supply chain management and economics) with upper-division courses specific to the food industry.

Students select from courses in:

  • Environmental management and sustainability
  • Food industry sales and management
  • Food marketing strategy
  • Food supply networks
  • Food retailing
  • Futures and options markets
  • Innovation and food product development
  • Insurance
  • Pricing and promotion strategy in food markets
  • Retail information analysis
  • Risk management

“The food industry is interesting as people often start their careers in the industry when they are young, find success in the industry, and work their way up often to very high levels in the organization’s management without formal education,” says Manfredo. “To advance further and maintain career flexibility within the industry, higher education is often needed and can provide a competitive edge.”

Potential careers for graduates include:

  • Brand manager for a food manufacturing firm
  • Commodities trader for an investment bank or hedge fund
  • District manager for a food retailer
  • Loan officer for a bank with a food-industry portfolio

The ASU FIM degree is the only online FIM program in the country. Therefore, it is attracting students from all over the world. Classes may be comprised of a manager at a food processing company in China, a restaurant manager in Ontario, and a commodities trader in San Francisco. It brings the real-world globalization aspect of the industry to life in the students’ everyday interactions with their peers.

Scott Yanni, general manager of 5th and Wine in Scottsdale, AZ, likes the approach of the FIM degree as well as it being offered online. “With the crazy hours of hospitality, the online program is highly beneficial to those already working in the industry,” he says. “If they want to start studying at 1 or 2 in the morning when they finish their shift, they can. No need to show up at an 8 a.m. class being tired from the night before and not getting the full education.”

And getting the full education is key. “Students will get an outstanding, world class, education that is a hallmark of all ASU degree programs,” says Manfredo.

Apply today: Bachelor of Arts in Business - Food Industry Management