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Choosing a course for a career in food

8 min read
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So, you’re interested in a career in the food industry but you aren’t entirely sure where your current degree can take you, or you simply don’t know how to achieve your aspirations? Luckily for you, this guide is full of resources to help you make the most of your degree and help you get where you want to be in terms of your career in the food industry. 

What can I do with my degree in the food sector?

Maybe you think your degree isn’t suited for the food industry, or you simply don’t know how to effectively use your degree to break into the food industry. Whatever the case, just know that no degree was a waste of time.

The food industry requires skilled people from a wide variety of backgrounds in order for it to keep functioning smoothly. From accounting to journalism, and even zoology, find out what the prospects are for your current degree and see how each can be implemented in the food sector. 

Do you have a degree in food science?

A degree in food science will unlock a huge range of roles for you in the food industry, in a number of different sectors, including manufacturing, engineering and healthcare.

What can I do with a food science degree? 

A degree in food science can lead you down a huge number of pathways. Some job roles that are directly related to this degree include, but are not limited to:

  • Food technologist:
    The role of a food technologist is to ensure that food products are consistently packaged safely, legally, and that they are the quality that they claim to be.
    This role is also likely to involve you developing the manufacturing processes and recipes of food and drink products – meaning you could be working on newly discovered and preexisting ingredients to invent new recipes and concept
  • Product/process development scientist:
    This role will involve you using your innovative mind and problem solving skills in order to provide improvements to current manufacturing systems and goods. Companies need people like you in this role to improve the efficiency and profitability of everyday products – including the processes used to make each one.
  • Quality manager:
    Do you have a penchant for organisation and coordination? The quality manager role may be ideal for you. As someone who ensures that products or services offered by an organisation are fit for purpose, legally compliant and that they meet customer expectations, you’ll be coordinating the duties that are required to meet these high standards.
  • Product developer:
    A product developer is responsible for developing new products, as well as improving existing food and drink formulations in line with trends and market needs. A product developer often works in a state of the art kitchen or a factory.
  • Food marketer:
    A food marketer develops and implements strategies to promote the company’s products and/or services, creating campaigns, content and overseeing market research, and increasing visibility, engagement and ultimately sales.
  • R&D Food technologist:
    A Research and Development food technologist conducts research on food and beverages and ingredients, develops new formulations and processes, and recipes. An R&D food technologies carries out research on flavour, texture and mouthfeel, and can advise on packaging best tailored to a specific product, as well as preservation of products.
  • Research scientist (life sciences):
    For those with an inquisitive mind who also love planning and experimenting, a research scientist role could be on the books for you. This role will involve conducting experiments and analysing results which can be for the end use product or to help broaden general scientific understanding of a topic. 

Please remember that many employers accept applications from graduates with any degree subject, so don’t restrict your thinking to the jobs listed here.

How to choose the right degree for a career in food

There are so many university courses to choose from, and a huge number of universities to go to, so how do you choose which one is the right one for you? Deciding what to study, and where, can be a long and daunting process, so it’s a good idea to narrow down your options when it comes to degrees. 

It is good to keep in mind that the subject you choose to study will determine what kind of qualification you’ll achieve at the end of your course. Out of the types of qualifications, the bachelor’s degree is the most popular undergraduate route into higher education – and they cover a massive range of courses and subjects: from food science, chemistry, journalism, and the arts! 

A bachelor’s degree typically lasts three to four years, depending on the subject and if you choose to study full-time, with assessments and exams making up the majority of your final grades each year. 

So, when it comes to choosing the right degree for a career in the food sector, what can you do?

Foundation degrees

Foundation degrees were created in partnership between universities, higher education colleges, and employers. They were designed to focus on the development of in-demand technical skills for a particular job or profession – proving a solid and strong platform for students seeking employment in specific sectors, such as the food sector. 

By undertaking a foundation degree, you open yourself up to being qualified to work in your desired workplace, but you also open the door to undergraduate study – which leads to being qualified for jobs higher up the chain in your chosen industry. 

HND courses

HND courses are highly practical qualifications that help prospective employees to enter the workplace right away. HND courses can also lead you to university, which will enable you to top up your qualification to a full bachelor’s degree. 

Higher National Diploma courses are perfectly suited for those who prefer learning whilst doing – providing a faster route into certain professions than university. They can take two years of full-time study to complete, and are designed to help students develop the hands-on skills required for certain professions and industries. 

Is university right for you, or should you choose an apprenticeship?

Deciding the path you want to go down when it’s time to leave college can be a really tough choice. Do you want to get a degree from a university, or would you prefer to opt for an apprenticeship to earn while you learn? Both options have their pros and cons, but which is the best route for you? 

  • Choosing to go to university:
    University opens you up to thousands of courses which can leave your career opportunities more open-ended in terms of future opportunities. University also grants you the opportunity to live away from home, helping you to learn a range of soft skills which are necessary for most job roles.
  • Choosing to do an apprenticeship:
    Immediately entering the workforce, gaining important experience and learning while you do the job, all while earning money as you study – however, you do enter the workforce at a lower level. On the plus side, you won’t have tuition fees to contend with, and you’ll make industry contacts from day one. 

Degrees for a career in food

Below are examples of some of the best degrees to study across the UK to pursue a career in the food industry. For a comprehensive list of courses available visit the UCAS and IFT websites.

University of Bedfordshire:

Food and Nutrition Science BSc (Hons)

Coventry University:

Food Science BSc (Hons)

Food Safety, Inspection and Control BSc (Hons)

University of Reading:

Nutrition and Food Science

University of Surrey:

Food Science and Nutrition BSc (Hons)

Food Science MSc

Nutritional Medicine MSc

Nutrition BSc (Hons)

Queen’s University Belfast:

Advanced Food Safety MSc

Food Quality, Safety and Nutrition BSc

Writtle University College:

BSc (Hons) Sustainable Food Production (Fresh Produce)

Harper Adams University:

Food Technology and Product Development BSc (Hons) (Top-up)

Agri-Food Marketing with Business BSc (Top-up)

Canterbury Christ Church University:

Food Science and Nutrition BSc

Robert Gordon University:

Food, Nutrition and Human Health BSc (Hons)

Ulster University:

Food and Nutrition PgCert, PgDip, MSc

Food Regulatory Affairs PgCert, PgDip, MSc

Consumer Management and Food Innovation BSc (Hons)

Food and Nutrition with placement year BSc (Hons)

Food Design and Innovation PgCert, PgDip, MSc

Food Business and Retail Management BSc (Hons)

Human Nutrition MSc

Dietetics MSc

Sport and Exercise Nutrition PgDip, MSc

University of West London:

Nutrition and Food Management BSc (Hons)

Future Food and Culinary Management BSc (Hons)

Food Business Management MSc

Culinary Arts Management BSc (Hons)

Nutritional Therapy BSc (Hons) 

Food Business and Nutrition Science PhD

University of Nottingham

Food Science and Nutrition BSc Hons

Food Science BSc Hons

Agricultural and Crop Science BSc

Agricultural and Livestock Science BSc

Agricultural Business Management BSc

Agriculture BSc

Biotechnology BSc

Chemical Engineering with Environmental Engineering with an industrial year MEng

Chemical Engineering with Environmental Engineering BEng

Chemical Engineering with Environmental Engineering MEng

Nutrition and Dietetics MNutr

Nutrition BSc

Nutrition MSci

University of Leeds

Food Science BSc

Food Science MSci

Nutrition MSci, BSc

The upcoming Inspiring Careers in Food Guide offers an unmissable opportunity to reach your target audience. Improve your Employer Brand Awareness, promote your opportunities to the future talent of the F&B industry, and spotlight the fantastic career pathways available with your business.


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