Life As a Food Scientist or Technologist
Occupation 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.
A Day in the Life of a Food Scientist or Technologist
- Seek substitutes for harmful or undesirable additives, such as nitrites.
- Inspect food processing areas to ensure compliance with government regulations and standards for sanitation, safety, quality, and waste management.
- Stay up to date on new regulations and current events regarding food science by reviewing scientific literature.
- Confer with process engineers, plant operators, flavor experts, and packaging and marketing specialists to resolve problems in product development.
- Develop food standards and production specifications, safety and sanitary regulations, and waste management and water supply specifications.
- Check raw ingredients for maturity or stability for processing, and finished products for safety, quality, and nutritional value.
Skills Needed to be a Food Scientist or Technologist
Below is a list of the skills most Food Scientists and Technologists say are important on the job.
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.
Related Job Titles for this Occupation:
- Research and Development Director (R & D Director)
- Swine Technician
- Confectionery Laboratory Manager
- Process Engineer
- Food Scientist
Is There Going to be Demand for Food Scientists and Technologists?
There were about 17,000 jobs for Food Scientist or Technologist in 2016 (in the United States). 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.
Do Food Scientists and Technologists Make A Lot Of Money?
The average yearly salary of a Food Scientist or Technologist ranges between $39,510 and $118,630.
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|
|District of Columbia||$97,570|
What Tools & Technology do Food Scientists and Technologists Use?
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
- Insightful S-PLUS
- Image analysis software
Becoming a Food Scientist or Technologist
What kind of Food Scientist or Technologist requirements are there?
How Long Does it Take to Become a Food Scientist or Technologist?
Where Food Scientists and Technologists Work
Below are examples of industries where Food Scientists and Technologists work:
Other Jobs You May be Interested In
Those thinking about becoming a Food Scientist or Technologist might also be interested in the following careers:
Are you already one of the many Food Scientist or Technologist in the United States? If you’re thinking about changing careers, these fields are worth exploring:
Image Credit: W.carter via Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication
More about our data sources and methodologies.