Food scientist

Alternative titles for this job include Food technologist

Food scientists and food technologists develop food and drink products, making sure they are safe to consume.

Average salary (a year)

£20,000 Starter

to

£45,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

39 to 41 a week

You could work

evenings on shifts

How to become a food scientist

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role

University

You'll usually need a foundation degree, higher national diploma or degree in:

  • food science
  • food studies
  • food technology

Employers may also accept other subjects like chemistry or nutrition.

If you have a degree in an unrelated subject, you could study a postgraduate course like food safety or food quality management.

Experience of working in a food science or food development environment, for example through an industrial placement, may improve your career prospects.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), including English, maths and a science
  • 1 or 2 A levels for a foundation degree or higher national diploma
  • 2 to 3 A levels for a degree
  • a degree in any subject for a postgraduate course

More information

Apprenticeship

You may be able to do a food technologist advanced apprenticeship then move on to a food industry technical professional degree apprenticeship.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and college qualifications like A levels for a degree apprenticeship

More information

Work

You could start as a food technician or lab assistant with a food manufacturer and study for further qualifications while you work.

More information

Further information

You can find out more about becoming a food scientist from the Institute of Food Science and Technology.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • knowledge of chemistry including the safe use and disposal of chemicals
  • knowledge of manufacturing production and processes
  • maths knowledge
  • knowledge of biology
  • knowledge of food production methods
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • analytical thinking skills
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

As a food scientist, you'll:

  • provide accurate nutritional information for food labelling
  • investigate ways to keep food fresh, safe and attractive
  • find ways to save time and money in food making
  • test the safety and quality of food

As a food technologist, you'll:

  • blend new ingredients to invent and modify recipes
  • conduct experiments and produce sample products
  • design production processes and machinery

Working environment

You could work at a research facility or in a laboratory.

You may need to wear protective clothing.

Career path and progression

You could work for a range of organisations involved in researching and developing new products, including:

  • food manufacturers and supermarkets
  • government and university research establishments
  • local authorities

You could improve your career prospects by getting Registered Scientist (RSci) or Chartered Scientist (CSci) status through the Institute of Food Science and Technology.

With experience you could become a project leader or manage a department like research and development or quality control. You could also move into fields like chemical engineering, agricultural research, toxicology or nutrition science.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

Product Development Degree Apprentice (Food Industry Technical Professional)

  • Wage : £17,000.00 Annually
  • Location: Ellesmere SY12 9BL

Quality Apprentice

  • Wage : £9,847.50 Annually
  • Location: CB6 3NX

Courses In England

BTEC L3 Diploma in Food Science & Nutrition

  • Provider: St Mary's Catholic High School, A Catholic Voluntary Academy
  • Start date: 01 September 2019
  • Location: Chesterfield

Food Science and Nutrition

  • Provider: St. Mary's Menston, a Catholic Voluntary Academy
  • Start date: 01 September 2019
  • Location: Ilkley

JobsIn the United Kingdom

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