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Food scientists and food technologists work within the food industry to develop and test foods for consumers and ensure food hygiene and safety standards are met. Food Scientists are involved in the application of biology, chemistry, physics, microbiology, genetics, biotechnology, and nutrition, to keep food fresh, safe and attractive. Food scientists tend to work in laboratories and research departments. They are often involved on the production line in the capacity of a quality controller.
Food technologists develop the processes for manufacturing of food and drink products. They are often involved in NPD (new product development) and create new recipes and ideas. They plan and implement process improvements to provide a competitive advantage through equipment selection and new technology. The majority of time spend is in the factory, supervising production processes and machinery operations.
Shift work is quite common for these roles but food scientists and technologists tend not to work longer than a 35-40 hour week. A higher national certificate or diploma (HNC/HND) or a degree is normally required to become a food scientist or food technologist. Subjects such as general sciences, food science, food studies, food technology, or in a specialist area such as baking or meat technology are particularly useful.
Food scientists and technologists often work for large supermarket chains, food manufacturers and government authorities. Work can involve a reasonable amount of travelling to warehouses, distribution centres and suppliers factories. Career prospects are favourable in larger companies. Graduates going into these roles can expect to earn anything from £12,000 to £20,000 depending on experience and qualifications. Experienced Food scientists and technologists may earn up to £30,000 and senior manager can earn in excess of £50,000.
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