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Key Roles & Salary Insights

4 min read
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What salaries could you expect to earn in different roles in the food industry?

There is a hugely diverse number of roles within the food industry, and at Food Matters Live we are committed to sharing and highlighting opportunities to the network of students and graduates. You’ve heard the term ‘love what you do’, but job satisfaction comes down to multiple criteria. 

Salary expectation, although not the only consideration, is a very important one.

Explore the below section to give you an idea of what you could earn in some of the key roles in the food industry:

Salary insights


A nutritionist salary can really vary depending on where you are in your career. Starting salaries can be between £15,000 – £25,000. After gaining experience, this could increase to anywhere between £50,000 – £80,000. A Performance Nutritionist coaching a high-performing team or an Olympian, can earn £100,000+

Food technologist 

A Food Technologist starting salary is around £24,000, but this increases year on year with more qualifications and experience up to between £50,000 and £60,000.


Some junior chefs will start off by doing a half-day shift for free if they’re applying to work in a very competitive Michelin space. This is to prove they have the skills and dedication required, but remember, after that, you should always get paid. The national average wage for a chef is now £27,000 a year and it can go up to £100,000+ a year for a Group Executive Head Chef or a Group Innovation Chef.

Innovation and New Product Development

When you start as a junior product development chef or product developer outside of a kitchen, you might be on about £24,000 (or more for large companies’ graduate schemes). This salary can go up to around £50,000 a year at a more senior level, and if you become the food product developer for a big food group, you’re looking at around £80,000 – £100,000 a year.

Consumer Insights Controller

A Consumer Insights Controller helps drive innovation within a company like Greencore by staying on top of consumer trends and shopping habits.  A consumer insights manager can earn £40,000 a year, increasing to £80,000 or more if you head up a team within a large company.

Sustainability Roles

Almost every major food brand now has a head of sustainability, also called a chief sustainability officer. And it can take years to get to the top, but the average salary is £55,000 a year going up to well over £100,000 a year in a big corporation.

Food Stylist

You might be doing your first shoot for free, but once you prove your ability, a food styling assistant can earn about £100£250 a day. When you’re ready to shoot on your own you can make £250£500 a day or even more.


Starting salaries for an entry level flavourist role are from around £30,000 a year. As you will often be working in a large company rooted in science, it is likely to have a good pay structure to set you up for the future, with great benefits like pensions schemes. A senior Flavourist can earn £100,000 or more.


For a Cocktailian salary, you are looking at around £17,000 – £20,000 to start as a full-time bar person in the UK, or £30,000+ as a bar manager. A global drinks brand ambassador on the other hand can earn £40,000 or more. But the money really kicks in when you start your own brand. And then your earning potential could well be in the millions.


According to Prospects, the average salary for a university Lecturer ranges from £33,000 to £49,000 depending on the university and your experience. As you climb the seniority ladder, you’re likely to see an increase in pay. Some heads of department or professors can be paid upwards of £100,000.

To learn more about routes into these careers from the people who have chosen these paths, check out our Careers Conversations podcast.


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