The Master's in Management of Food Systems of Quality and Gastronomy (Food Quality) is part of a process of enhancement of the Italian agri-food industry that recognizes Parma as one of the most important industrial clusters in Italy, known as the “Italian Food valley”. It is in the Food Valley that a set of unique knowledge has been created in the national agri-food scene combined with corresponding attention by students who see this industrial reality as a concrete professional outlet.
The management of food production, in the current international competitive context, requires a new generation of specialists equipped with management and communication skills suited to a new economic and social framework in Italy and abroad in the agri-food sector. Although Italy is an importer of commodities, it is also an exporter of quality processed food products that reflect the Italian gastronomic culture. The world of Italian agri-food businesses requires figures who, in addition to managing production, are able to design and manage food quality, as well as to interpret consumer needs by communicating to them the qualitative plus of Italian gastronomy.
The Master in “Food Quality” aims to offer a specific and innovative training course. The professional profile relates to the management, administration, planning, and control of food firms, providing a professional development that combines the economic-managerial profile with that of gastronomy science and culture. The delivered skills consider topics as the environmental, social, economic and technical management of the supply chains with a focus on product quality and food services. This professional figure will cover assistance roles within companies and reference bodies for the agri-food sector with diversified functions based on the characteristics of the company and the type of product. The concept of quality that is intended to be developed in the Master is multidimensional. It starts from the idea that the quality of the products derives from the quality of the governance action of the companies and the agri-food supply chains in the economic, social, managerial and marketing, communicative and technological aspects, without neglecting the aspects linked to environmental impacts, innovations, and consumer relationships.
The Master in Food Quality is promoted by the Department of Economics and Business Sciences in collaboration with the Department of Food and Drug Sciences of the University of Studies di Parma; it is a multidisciplinary project that was born as a collaborative platform to promote dialogue between the economic-managerial culture with the disciplines related to the social sciences of gastronomy.
The Master in Food Quality aims to train professionals with interdisciplinary skills that combine the theoretical and empirical knowledge of the managerial nature of the agri-food system, with the technological and gastronomic skills connected to the enhancement of food in a close logic of environmental sustainability. The Master is designed for students coming from Bachelors in Economics and Management and from Agricultural Sciences or Food Sciences. The training course focuses on the subjects of different subject areas, which include:
- the disciplines of economics, management, and sociological nature: to understand and be able to apply the economic theories and the forms of management of agri-food companies in the procurement, production, processing, marketing, and promotion of food production and environmental systems.
- the disciplines of a statistical nature: to understand both the data necessary for the management of companies and for the management of quality and food safety.
- legal disciplines: to understand national, European and international regulations in the field of food production and marketing as well as consumer protection.
- the historical disciplines to understand the cultural implications related to the production, marketing, and consumption of food.
- technological disciplines: to guarantee food safety but above all to understand and guarantee food quality, also with respect to consumers' nutritional needs.
The Master in Food Quality responds to the need to train a modern professional figure, who adds the skills of the bio-economist to those of the bio-gastronomist, able to satisfy the strong demands for interdisciplinary skills placed in those who operate in the context of the management of food companies, the gastronomy sectors and the socio-economic development of areas with a strong food vocation, in line with the European strategy for sustainable development outlined in the Commission Communication to the European Parliament on "Innovation for sustainable growth: a bio-economy for Europe" - COM (2012) 60 final – and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Students can graduate by choosing between two different professional profiles:
- The Econo-gastronomist: the profile of the graduate is economic-managerial integrated with gastronomic skills. He is a manager of agri-food quality, who knows how to recognize, manage, safeguard, communicate, promote and enhance the quality of food along the value chain and in the territory.
- The Gastro-economist The graduate's profile is of an integrated gastronomist with economic-managerial skills aimed at the promotion and socio-cultural enhancement of quality food. He is an expert on food culture able to combine it with nutritional needs with attention to costs and the environment.
Last but not least, students can benefit from a period of internships in Italian food companies.
About the School
The University of Parma is a State University. As such, it is self-governing and has administrative, organizational, and accountancy autonomy, providing services to the general public.