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Food manufacturing jobs in the UK – what can you expect?

10 min read
Smiling female manufactureres working in food factory

There are many different jobs in food manufacturing companies, and what each job involves can differ depending on the company offering it. Many food manufacturing jobs will require you to demonstrate that you have the required knowledge, experience, and understanding of food from at least a GCSE level to a BSc (Hons) level.

Food and beverage manufacturing jobs

Product Developer

As a product developer, you will be able to work on new product developments for a range of brands, as well as participate in business continuity projects. This will enable you to learn management skills which can help you to lead smaller activities on the job, as well as support a more experienced technologist in other projects during your time in this role. 

Product developers have the opportunity to learn on the job, working closely with other research and development experts to ensure they are creating the best product designs possible, as well as strictly following UK legal, nutritional, and food safety compliance. 

This food manufacturing job will also involve close internal partnerships across a number of internal functions, such as marketing, supply chain management, and procurement. You’ll also have the opportunity to work with external partners and suppliers, such as third-party manufacturers and ingredient suppliers. 

This role is perfect for those who have a passion for creativity within this industry and provides the ideal opportunity to develop innovative products, whilst delivering delicious and sustainable product experiences within a fast-paced, team-based, environment. 

Responsibilities as a product developer typically include:

  • Planning, organising, and executing of a variety of project types
  • Working closely onsite with research and development experts
  • Close collaboration with marketing teams
  • Use of creativity to develop products
  • Supporting or leading technical delivery of products
  • Leading and management of prototype trials
  • Management of supplier relationships
  • Collaboration with internal partners

Product developer requirements typically include:

  • A passion for creative food product design
  • Excellent communication and project management skills
  • Great attention to detail in regards to data, recording, and analysis
  • Time management and priority setting
  • Ability to work in strict adherence to health and safety regulations
  • Working knowledge of a European language – French, German, Italian, etc
  • Experience of working cross-functionally
  • Experience working with third-parties
  • Experience of leading the delivery of a variety of projects from brief to market

Food Technologist

Food technologists are dedicated to the production, innovation, and development of a variety of food products. As a food technologist, you will typically be reporting to a technical services manager, with the overall purpose of this role being to assist the technical team to ensure products are produced safely, and legally, and adhere to customer requirements. 

Key responsibilities of the food technologist role include:

  • Completing internal audits and Good Manufacturing Practice audits
  • Updating and maintaining supplier approval information
  • Investigating customer complaints
  • Supporting external audits
  • Reviewing traceability exercises
  • Reviewing lab test results and recording
  • Assisting with the maintenance of site QMS, HACCP and GMPs

Requirements for a food technologist role include:

  • Previous experience in a similar role
  • Well organised, analytical and logical mindset
  • Good computer skills as use of Excel will be needed
  • Excellent communication skills
  • A driving licence as multi-site travel will typically be required

Food manufacturing manager jobs

Manufacturing Line Lead

As a manufacturing line lead, your role is in constant communication with the operations manager. During this role, you will be responsible for managing people and the production plant. You will also follow product and process deliveries against a set of clearly defined role outputs. 

Additionally, you will also have specific responsibilities for the development, management, and leading of a manufacturing team composed of team members, advanced team members, and technical engineering coordinators. 

Responsibilities of a manufacturing line lead include: 

  • Being part of a leadership team which comprises the line lead, process lead, and maintenance lead
  • Essential leading in the daily direction
  • Daily management of key areas such as clean inspection lubrication (CIL), incident elimination, defect handling, and daily – monthly direction setting
  • Taking personal responsibility of the health and safety of your team, as well as the environment
  • Ensuring constant compliance with everyday quality processes
  • Accepting responsibility of problems and seeing opportunity for change
  • Motivating people to achieve company goals

Essential skills and knowledge for a manufacturing line lead role include:

  • Strong team ethics
  • Effective and positive coaching skills
  • Positive can-do attitude
  • Personal ownership
  • Strong people management skills
  • Experience dealing with absence, disciplinary, and grievance
  • Proven track record of delivering KPIs
  • Recent experience in the food industry, including that of a managerial/supervisory level

Food Safety & Compliance 

A role in food safety and compliance involves ensuring that all of the relevant procedures relating to food safety, quality, and legalities are being followed, along with working with supplies to ensure that their products are following these essential guidelines. You will be expected to keep your knowledge of the relevant guidelines and legislation up to date in order to prevent unsafe products from being launched into the market. 

Responsibilities in food safety and compliance include:

  • Ensuring all relevant procedures, policies, and codes of practice regarding food safety, quality, and legality are being documented and communicated to the business, brand, and supplier
  • Proactively managing HACCP and quality management systems in use
  • Working with supplies to ensure high quality, safe, and legal products are being let into the market
  • Supporting the technical manager in communicating regulatory affairs to the business, and helping to ensure that they are understood – clearing up any misunderstandings
  • Conducting internal audits and leading BRC customer audits
  • Collating and maintaining approval documents from suppliers

Desirable qualifications include:

  • Good understanding of HACCP
  • Ability to lead BRC audits
  • Previous experience in quality or compliance positions
  • Previous experience in food manufacturing jobs
  • A degree in food science, food technology, or a related subject

Quality Controller

A quality controller ensures that high-quality and safety standards are maintained throughout the entire production process. From product taste testing and performing hygiene checks of the production line, to ensuring that packaging is aesthetically appealing as it should be and filling out paperwork, the role of a quality controller is an essential food manufacturing job. 

Responsibilities include:

  • Conducting line checks on critical performance points
  • Ensuring accurate production and packing of products is taking place
  • Conducting regular GMP audits to ensure compliance across all lines
  • Product taste testing and lab testing of raw materials to ensure quality across the board
  • Testing of finished products to determine sales worthiness
  • Supporting quality systems manager with projects
  • Producing reports on all testing and audits

Desirable qualifications include:

  • Previous experience in a similar role
  • FMCG experience
  • Strong attention to detail
  • Qualification in food hygiene or HACCP
  • Able to work alone or as part of a team
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
  • Great analysis skills for identifying areas of improvement
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Able to think on your feet
  • Ability to make and communicate your decisions

Food manufacturing engineering jobs

Manufacturing Technician

A role as a manufacturing technician is essential in the production team, and will see you directly influencing a company’s line performance by managing specific zones in a plant or factory to achieve certain targets linked to quality, cost, delivery and morale (QCDM). Your team, a combination of general operatives, will collaborate with a wider line team of manufacturing technicians, shift technicians, and performance coordinators. 

You will work alongside these people to help broaden the understanding of line performance, as well as prioritise actions and proactively apply improved performance specifications (IPS), good manufacturing practices, and maintain very high safety and maintenance standards. 

Responsibilities of a manufacturing technician include:

  • Coaching general operatives in health and safety, food safety, quality, IPS, GMP, and immediate problem solving which will bolster their training
  • You will be responsible for holding GOs and GSOs in their zones accountable to the expected high standards in the above
  • Coordinating and prioritising activities and resources to ensure efficiency
  • Using good problem solving techniques to identify and resolve root causes – not surface level problems
  • Generating data and identifying trends to drive improvement
  • Completing prescribed routine maintenance activities such as basic fault finding, calibrations, and running inspections
  • Collaboration with other MTs and PCs to ensure end to end line performance remains high
  • Proactively identify, coach, and escalate where required people behaviour/performance gaps

Essential qualifications include:

  • NVQ Level 2, GCSE grades A-C, O Level or equivalent
  • Experience in a manufacturing environment or an autonomous role with people coaching duties
  • Self-starter, motivated for success
  • Results driven, understanding the link between action and result/cause and effect
  • Excellent influencer of positive change
  • Uses initiative and is capable of solving problems
  • Good prioritisation skills
  • Organised and methodical
  • Understand and be compliant with GCS controls
  • Demonstrates basic mechanical competence. Capable of training and coaching others in the changing of consumable parts
  • Good understanding and application of IPS standards and equipment optimisation

Production Technician

Companies offering a production technician job role are typically manufacturers of food products for a range of clients in the UK and Europe. This role can include handling food, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and other regulated products, and it will often require proven experience working in similar environments. 

This job role typically entails the following:

  • Setting up of operating machinery for all aspects of the manufacturing process
  • Dispensing raw materials
  • Completing batch documentation per specific instructions and strict quality standards
  • Maintaining defined standards of safety, GMP, and production output

Typical requirements for a product technician food manufacturing job role include:

  • Prior experience as a technician in manufacturing or similarly regulated environments
  • The ability to work within strict GMP principles
  • Ability to work within, and follow, essential health and safety regulations
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills as you will need to follow detailed written instructions, and accurately complete manufacturing records
  • Good numeracy skills
  • Proven ability to work alone or within a team

Food Packing Operative

The food packing operative role is a key component of many brands’ manufacturing cycles. Finished food products which require packaging will come to food packing rooms to be packed. Your job includes packing and assembling food products in line with a specific set of established guidelines set out by your brand’s product managers. 

These kinds of roles require decent agility, especially with the hands, and physical stamina. This role ensures the smooth running and delivery of products on a daily basis, and your work will be focused on the packaging of final goods for delivery to customers. 

Food packing operative responsibilities include: 

  • The safe and effective operation of machinery used to package finished products. This includes bag sealing machines, labelling machines, metal detectors, and box sealing machines
  • Monitoring of packaging machines and reporting any operational issues
  • Cleaning and maintaining work areas
  • In-depth knowledge of a range of products and materials to ensure strict safety and quality standards are being met
  • Strictly following health and safety procedures

Desirable skills include:

  • Experience in a previous food packing role
  • Ability to work alone and within a team
  • Proven ability to follow instructions and concentrate
  • Physical stamina and dexterity as lifting and standing for long periods of time is required

Find out about roles in the food sectors, and get tips and information about the career of your future with Food Matters Live’s free Inspiring Careers in Food guide.

The 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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