STORIES in Agriculture and Life Sciences

Article Title

Ketchup Or Salsa?


Barbara McBreen


Do Americans consume more ketchup or salsa in one year? Lester Wilson knows the answer. Wilson, a University Professor in food science and human nutrition, has a buffet of tidbits about the science of food. It's the type of fun-food trivia Wilson shares with students in his introductory food science classes. "Who would have thought, from the condiment standpoint, that more salsa is sold in the United States each year than ketchup?" Wilson asks. Using humor in the classroom, Wilson says, helps loosen up students. His methods work. He has won numerous awards for teaching and advising. In 2009, he received the State of Iowa Regents Award for Faculty Excellence and this September he received the university's James Huntington Ellis Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Introductory Teaching. "I try to get students to become good consumers and understand why it's important to understand the labels and how it all relates to marketing," Wilson says. If you attend any food science student event, you'll find him surrounded by students. It's evident he enjoys what he's doing- and that's the advice he gives students.