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Alumna and social media influencer brings awareness and educates on food science through her platform

The Lantern
Brittany Towers Lewis has been making waves in the food industry for a decade as a food scientist. Credit: The Ohio State University

Ohio State alumna Brittany Towers Lewis is looking to make food science more digestible through social media.

Lewis has been a food scientist for 10 years, and now, she’s using her knowledge to create short videos explaining various food science concepts and answering common questions about food. Lewis has amassed over 84,000 followers on TikTok, and 133,000 on Instagram.

“I have always loved food,” Lewis said. “I didn’t know that food science was a major or career. I didn’t know it was something you could do because if I did, I probably would have started it when I got to Ohio State.”

Lewis received her bachelor’s and master’s in food science from Ohio State in 2011 and 2013, respectively, according to her Linkedin page. After graduating, she began working as a product developer from PepsiCo on brand products, like Gatorade. She said she now works for the health and wellness brand Vital Protein, which offers products for whole-body wellness, including collagen supplements.

“I have spent my entire career in product development,” Lewis said. “I think it’s just relating it to something like food that helps me understand it better.”

Lewis said she started TikTok and Instagram pages in 2021 to share her expertise with a broader audience. She noticed people were putting a lot of trust in science during the pandemic.

“I try to do it in a digestible way with science,” Lewis said. “It’s a short, quick way of getting information out there that matters to people whether you have a science background or not.”

Through her social media presence, Lewis said she hopes to encourage more underprivileged communities to pursue careers in STEM. She said people mistakenly believe they are not good at science, but can succeed by finding their niche.

“I studied science in school, and sometimes people use acronyms that many might not know,” Lewis said. “This makes people shy away from science.”

Kyle Kent, an Ohio State alum and former professor in food science and technology, said food science is a broad discipline that encompasses a range of products — including candy and ice cream. While some may not necessarily associate these products with wellness, he said nutrition and ingredient considerations are always at the forefront of the field.

“Within food science, there is consideration of the nutrition of all the ingredients we’re using and how they come together,” Kent said. “And what it means for the label, and then also for any claims that might be able to be made about the product.”

Kent encourages those interested in food science to explore the major, which he describes as one of the “coolest science majors out there.”

Lewis said she volunteered for organizations that promote STEM careers to those who may have yet to have the opportunity to learn about them — such as Big Brothers Big Sisters, Building Bridges, STEAM Urban and the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. Lewis said her future goals include growing her social media presence and promoting representation in science fields, particularly for women and people of color.

“I am not a person that puts content out there just for the sake of putting it out there,” Lewis said. “What is important to me is putting something out there that people will be interested in and learn from and bring awareness to people.”

Lewis said she teaches fitness alongside making content for her online audience.

“I would love to grow my social media more. That’s something that I am always looking to do,” Lewis said. “Fitness is a passion of mine, and I absolutely love teaching and seeing clients and myself get stronger every day.”

Luis Rodriguez-Saona, professor of food science and technology, said Lewis was a standout student, and he has been following her success since she has taken his class. He said Lewis was especially fascinated with snacks, an essential industry in Ohio.

“We see how the students grow, but then they fly and go their ways,” Rodriguez-Saona said. “They find their way into the industry. She has been amazing. She has been a leader in the industry.”

With the increasing demand for healthier food options, the Food Science and Technology program at Ohio State is taking the lead in improving the nutritional value of its food, Rodriguez-Saona said.

“We have faculty here that are going to be working on different technologies that will improve the healthy nutrients in our food,” Rodriguez-Saona said.

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