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Food Scientist or Technologist

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What You Need to Know About Food Scientist or Technologist

Food Scientist or Technologist Job Description Use chemistry, microbiology, engineering, and other sciences to study the principles underlying the processing and deterioration of foods; analyze food content to determine levels of vitamins, fat, sugar, and protein; discover new food sources; research ways to make processed foods safe, palatable, and healthful; and apply food science knowledge to determine best ways to process, package, preserve, store, and distribute food.

What Do Food Scientists and Technologists Do On a Daily Basis?

  • Check raw ingredients for maturity or stability for processing, and finished products for safety, quality, and nutritional value.
  • Seek substitutes for harmful or undesirable additives, such as nitrites.
  • Test new products for flavor, texture, color, nutritional content, and adherence to government and industry standards.
  • Demonstrate products to clients.
  • Develop new or improved ways of preserving, processing, packaging, storing, and delivering foods, using knowledge of chemistry, microbiology, and other sciences.
  • Confer with process engineers, plant operators, flavor experts, and packaging and marketing specialists to resolve problems in product development.

Things a Food Scientist or Technologist Should Know How to Do

Food Scientists and Technologists state the following job skills are important in their day-to-day work.

Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Writing: Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

Reading Comprehension: Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

Active Learning: Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.

Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Types of Food Scientist or Technologist

  • Product Development Scientist
  • Food Processing Scientist
  • Seafood Technology Specialist
  • Food Safety Scientist
  • Value Analysis Coordinator

Food Scientist or Technologist Employment Estimates

In the United States, there were 17,000 jobs for Food Scientist or Technologist in 2016. New jobs are being produced at a rate of 5.9% which is above the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 1,000 new jobs for Food Scientist or Technologist by 2026. There will be an estimated 1,800 positions for Food Scientist or Technologist per year.


The states with the most job growth for Food Scientist or Technologist are Utah, Colorado, and Arkansas. Watch out if you plan on working in Washington, Vermont, or South Carolina. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

Food Scientist or Technologist Average Salary

The salary for Food Scientists and Technologists ranges between about $39,510 and $118,630 a year.


Food Scientists and Technologists who work in District of Columbia, Illinois, or Massachusetts, make the highest salaries.

Below is a list of the median annual salaries for Food Scientists and Technologists in different U.S. states.

State Annual Mean Salary
Alabama $54,340
Arizona $65,100
Arkansas $84,580
California $72,580
Colorado $68,520
Connecticut $81,290
District of Columbia $97,570
Florida $76,740
Georgia $65,500
Idaho $67,600
Illinois $89,700
Indiana $72,760
Iowa $67,360
Kansas $76,380
Kentucky $58,260
Maine $52,000
Maryland $87,530
Massachusetts $87,700
Michigan $59,610
Minnesota $80,320
Missouri $65,190
Nebraska $72,100
New Jersey $78,560
New York $61,630
North Carolina $58,430
Ohio $78,950
Oklahoma $54,720
Oregon $65,750
Pennsylvania $76,670
Rhode Island $73,400
South Dakota $56,150
Tennessee $60,330
Texas $67,500
Utah $59,890
Vermont $86,360
Virginia $67,950
Washington $62,830
Wisconsin $63,140

Tools & Technologies Used by Food Scientists and Technologists

Although they’re not necessarily needed for all jobs, the following technologies are used by many Food Scientists and Technologists:

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Office
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • SAP
  • Insightful S-PLUS
  • Image analysis software

How do I Become a Food Scientist or Technologist?

Learn what Food Scientist or Technologist education requirements there are.


How many years of work experience do I need?


Where do Food Scientists and Technologists Work?


Food Scientists and Technologists work in the following industries:


You May Also Be Interested In…

Those interested in being a Food Scientist or Technologist may also be interested in:

Career changers with experience as a Food Scientist or Technologist sometimes find work in one of the following fields:


Image Credit: W.carter via Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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