Food & Nutritional Product Development - Sligo

Consumer trends and global markets for the foods we eat are continually changing. The food choices made by consumers are often influenced by a number of key factors such as nutritional value, health benefits, production practices, food security and sustainability. In light of this, the duty lies with the Food Industry to develop and deliver safe quality foods that meet consumer demands. Product development is at the core of any thriving food business, ensuring continued innovation, market growth, competitiveness and sustainability. Highly skilled food product development specialists are paramount to this success.

This course looks to address the needs of those in the Food Industry who are keen to expand their understanding and effectiveness in developing nutritional food products to ensure they are at the forefront of food innovation. This course also provides the skills and knowledge to recent graduates to aid them in pursuing a career in food product development.

What will you study?
Food Product Development (NUTR09029)
Will provide you with the skills required to conduct effective market research strategies (e.g., focus groups and sensory evaluation) that are necessary for the successful development of sustainable new foods, beverages, and nutraceuticals.

Food Business, Innovation & Entrepreneurship (FOOD09008)
Will provide you with the business acumen required to link food product development to business. The module will enable you to analyse current food market trends and identify opportunities to develop niche products in emerging markets to meet consumer needs. This module will ensure you understand the importance of not only the micro-environment of their business, but also the macro-environment, into which they are launching.

Nutrition Through the Lifestages (NUTR09032)
Will develop your understanding for the various nutritional requirements of key demographic groups within local and global populations. Subsequently, you will be able to identify niche opportunities to create novel and/ or innovative innovative foods, beverages, and nutraceuticals.

Food Chemistry & Analysis (FOOD09015)
Will provide you with the scientific understanding behind food composition, the role of additives, shelf-life and effects of processing on their respective food products.

Current & Emerging Trends in Food Technology (FOOD09017)
Will raise your awareness and understanding of cutting-edge technologies and trends in food processing, packaging and biotechnology.

Food Quality, Safety & Legislation (FOOD09007)
Will raise your awareness for the technical specifications and policy governing product safety, packaging, labelling, additives, health and nutrition claims.

In year 2 of the programme you will apply the knowledge gained in the above modules to design, implement and evaluate a research project in any area of Food and Nutritional Product Development.

Course Delivery:

This course will be delivered primarily online. However, on campus attendance may be required for:

Programme induction.

Students may be required to complete onsite (ATU Sligo) practical classes during one designated week of the Semester 2. The dates will be communicated to the students at the start of each academic semester.

Students may be required to complete onsite (ATU Sligo) workshops during a designated week of the Semester 1 & 2. The dates will be communicated to the students at the start of each academic semester.

For the research project, access to onsite laboratories may be possible on agreement with your supervisor.

Key Course Information
The specific objectives of the programme are to provide graduates with the skills to:

Demonstrate thorough understanding of food science, nutrition, concepts of product development, innovation and entrepreneurship in order to apply them on the production of food products and nutraceuticals.

Demonstrate interdisciplinary knowledge in food science, nutrition, sensory evaluation, innovation and entrepreneurship to help them develop new food products and nutraceuticals.

Research and develop novel food products within the Food Sector.

Develop food products covering the nutritional needs of different population groups.

Understand and maintain an in-depth working knowledge of the legislation to guide innovation and product development.

Formulate, present and defend scientific information in a variety of forms to stakeholders in the food industry including internal personnel and the public.

Interpret, synthesise and integrate core aspects of a food and drink production process from concept to launch.

Critically assess the incorporation of functional ingredients and use novel technologies during the development of food products and nutraceuticals.

Work effectively in a food and drink environment by acting autonomously and thinking independently when developing food products nutraceuticals.

Participate effectively in a complex team of professionals from a variety of background to solve complex problems in product development.

Critically review scientific literature, conduct research in food product development, and present their research findings to different stakeholders.

Identify knowledge gaps in the area of food and nutritional product development and source and undertake self-learning to fill the gaps.

Demonstrate a comprehensive knowledge and understanding of quantitative and qualitative research methods used in food product development to apply in the planning, execution and dissemination of a rigorous research project.

Demonstrate fundamental concepts and essential analytical methods pertaining to the design, analysis and interpretation of food and nutritional product development research

How many study hours should students set aside each week for this programme (including attendance at live classes)?

• Semester 1 ?
6 hours/ week live lectures
1 hour/ week workshops
12 hours/ independent learning

• Semester 2 ?
5 hours/ week live lectures
1.5 hours/week practical classes
1 hour/ week workshops
12 hours/ week independent learning

• Semester 3 ?
1 hour/ week live lectures
12 hours/ week independent learning (research project)

• Semester 4 ?
1 hour/ week live lectures
12 hours/ week independent learning (research project)

Will there be additional reading during the course?
Lecturers will direct students to relevant extra reading materials to further their learning in the area.

Subjects taught

Semester 1
Title Credits
Nutrition through the life stages 05
Food Chemistry and Analysis 05
Current and Emerging Trends in Food Technology 05
Food Safety Quality and Legislation 05

Semester 2
Title Credits
Food Business, Innovation and Entrepreneurship 05
Food Product Development 10
Research Methods 05

Semester 3
Title Credits
Food and Nutritional Product Development Research Project 50

Entry requirements

To qualify for direct entry into this programme, a standard applicant must hold an Honours degree (Level 8), with evidence of a 2:2, or higher, in any of the following areas:

Life Sciences, Food Science, Human Nutrition, Sports Science, Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, Home Economics or Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) in a cognate discipline of study. Where English is not their first language, students are required to have an appropriate score in an approved examination in English language, such as IELTS.

Applicants with other qualifications and with relevant work experience may also be considered through ATU Sligo's Recognised Prior Learning (RPL) process. RPL is a process that may allow you to gain admission to a programme or to receive exemptions / credit from some parts of a programme based on demonstrated learning that you may have achieved through another programme of study or through your work and career. Further information is available through which our dedicated RPL portal or by contacting our admissions team at


2 years part-time, online.

Post Course Info

Career opportunities include:

NPD /R&D Manager positions in the Food Industry.
Technical and Quality Roles within the Food Industry.
Consultancy for the food industry
Food and nutritional research.
Food and nutritional education.
Food business start-ups.
Food business entrepreneurs.

Further Study
Graduates can apply to funded PhD projects within ATU or other Higher Education Institutes.

More details
  • Qualification letters


  • Qualifications

    Degree - Masters (Level 9 NFQ)

  • Attendance type

    Part time

  • Apply to

    Course provider