A global web survey was conducted collecting academia and industry perceived attitudes, identifying curriculum gaps, challenges and opportunities of food engineering (FE). Participation criterion was: "A person who has one or more formal degrees in FE, and/or an equivalent degree in another field and whose job description includes/included FE activities". Respondents with formal FE education was lower than 25%. More than two-thirds of the respondents holding a formal BSc or MSc in FE selected other domains for their higher degrees, and 56.7% indicated that FE should become a part of another study program. Traditional FE topics were preferred over health, nutrition and wellbeing, innovation related to firm's activities, marketing molecular biology. FE profession should undergo a self-examination required to ensure its future growth and impact in addressing forthcoming challenges in the food sector, and concurrently make paradigm shifts in its vision in the pursuit of excellence and innovation. © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.