A food technologist works within the food processing industry and helps to develop healthy, safe, and sustainable food products. They continually work towards developing better methods of food preservation, better processing and packaging procedures in order to meet company and environmental standards.
Established companies in the food industry have made their environmental impact a high priority. Manufacturing processes, logistics, food packaging and farming are all influenced by food technologists. The food technologist is the conductor working toward a sustainable symphony.
The NFS (Nutrition and Food Security) was commissioned by the UK Government in 2019 as the first independent review of the UK food policy in nearly 75 years. The aim of the review was to provide a roadmap for transforming the food system from its current state to one that is healthier for the population and the planet. Food technologists now have a fundamental role in designing ways to make food production a more sustainable practice.
What are the job responsibilities?
- Generating new product ideas
- Modifying and improving existing recipes
- Ensuring strict food safety standards
- Identifying suppliers and sourcing materials
- Testing and examining samples
- Writing reports
What qualifications do you need?
Graduates would benefit from a degree in a related subject such as food science, chemical engineering, biochemistry, nutrition, microbiology, or chemistry. However, if you don’t have a degree in these subjects, fear not: possession of a food-related postgraduate qualification can be very beneficial to you. There are plenty of food technologist placement and shadowing roles which can get you the experience you need to pursue this job post-university. Some big companies also run graduate training schemes, meaning if you studied a different science discipline to food, you could still receive extra training from your employer.
What is the salary like?
Starting salaries for food technologists are in the region of £20,000 – £26,000. With experience, salaries of £25,000 – £45,000 can be reached. At a senior management level, you could earn up to £50,000+.
Where will you be working?
The working environment can vary between anywhere from a laboratory, kitchen, and office to a factory. Location wise, the job role is as diverse as any. You could be working at different venues within the company’s supply chain. This green job demands flexibility and adaptability from candidates.
What’s the career progression like?
Career progression can see you develop into more senior food technologist roles where you are given greater managerial responsibilities. Typically career progression can look like this:
- development technologist
- senior development technologist
- project leader (lead food technologist)
- new product development manager
Is there a demand for this job?
Food technologist jobs are in high demand from food and drink manufacturers, government bodies, retailers and supermarket chains, and research associations. This green job role is very attainable for science graduates who want to specialise in food. If you want a job role which can play a large part in shaping a sustainable future, this could be the career path for you.
Interested? Be sure to attend the Careers Week hosted by Food Matters Careers in November where you can listen to food technologists speak about their careers, and join a networking session.