Nutrition and Food Science

Maria Giovanni, MBA, PhD, CFS

Professor, Food Science

My mission is to challenge people to consider how and who produces the food they eat and to explore the science and psychology of food choice. My vision is for all eaters to have the resources to choose foods that honor their emotional, physical, intellectual, and spiritual selves.

Courses Taught

  • NFSC 120 Intro to Food Science 
  • NFSC 155 Intro to Nutrition and Food Science 
  • NFSC 320 Science of Food

Research Interests

  • Understand the impact of regenerative agricultural practices on food quality, specifically consumer acceptability, sensory characteristics, objective properties,  and nutrient content.
  • Create strategies to impact consumer behavior as a positive element of a local food system, especially in regards to locally grown and raised plant and animal products.
  • Develop effective pedagogy to improve the ability of science and math students, particularly those interested in food and nutrition, to reach their educational and career goals, particularly considering the concept of multiple intelligences.
  • Explore the relationships between diet, sensory perception and lifestyle in senior adults, with a specific interest in how sensory perception impacts dietary choices and quality of life.

Current Projects

  • Quality and value added aspects of fruit, vegetable, and dairy products (with the College of Agriculture).
  • Improving diet behaviors among children and adults with autism.
  • Understanding the factors that impact the dietary and quality of life needs of older adults.
    •  “Participation in a ‘Brain and Body Fitness’ program improves dietary satisfaction in older adults in an independent living facility”, Graduate Research Project, Rina May
    • “The Impact of Age-Related Changes in Taste and Smell on Dietary Quality and Satisfaction of Older Adults” (Research Foundation Scholars Grant, CSUC Office of Research and Sponsored Programs
    • These studies are being conducted in partnership with The Oakmont Independent Living and 40 Plus L.E.A.P. (Life Extension Attainment Program), a Brain and Body Fitness program geared towards older adults. 
    • Electronic data collection devices for Nutrition and Food Sciences (application in a laboratory classroom).  CELT Learning Enhancement Grant.Sensory and consumer research support for local food companies (upon request).

Recent Publications

Goto K, Waite A, Chan K, Wolff C., Giovanni M. Do environmental interventions impact elementary school students’ lunchtime milk selection? Journal of Applied Economic Perspectives & Policy (in press)

Nicklas TA, Jahns L, Bogle M, Chester D, Giovanni M, Klurfeld D, Laugero K, Liu Y, Lopez S, Tucker K. Barriers and Facilitators for Consumer Adherence to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans: The HEALTH Study. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Lee, LA, D. Metz, M. Giovanni, C.M. Bruhn. 2011.  Consumer knowledge and handling of tree nuts:  Food safety implications.  Food Protection Trends, 31(1)18-27.

Baameur, A., and Giovanni, M. 2007. Carrots are not only orange.  UC Delivers, February. 

Education and Experience

Certified Food Scientist (CFS), 2013

Certified RIVA Qualitative Moderator, RIVA Training Institute, 2008

Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO.  Ph.D. Food Science

Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ.  MBA

University of California, Davis, CA.  M.S., B.S., Food Science & Technology


Food Science, Food Safety and Service, Marketing, and Math/Statistics courses at four and two year colleges; Jr./Sr. High School Math and Science Substitute Teacher.

Research (Government and Industry)

Quality evaluation of produce varietals (UC Cooperative Extension), Sensory Evaluation and Consumer Research on Food, Personal Care and Home Cleaning Products including qualitative and quantitative research methods; Product Development of beverages, bakery goods, refrigerated meat items, fruit and acidified vegetable shelf-stable products.  Key companies include Armour-Dial, Celestial Seasonings, Coors Brewing Company, Maverick Ranch Natural Beef, National Food Laboratory and Clorox.


Nutrition education (Mexico, Guatemala, Food for the Hungry US), Food relief and health education (Ethiopia and Denver).

Office Hours

Mon. 9:30am-12:30pm

Thur. 10:30am-12:50pm

Portrait of Maria Giovanni, MBA, PhD, CFS