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Consumer scientist

Consumer scientists study why people use or buy products and services, and give advice to retailers and manufacturers. 

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £19,000 to £50,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 40 per week

1. Entry requirements

You’ll usually need a degree or equivalent qualification in a relevant subject like:

  • consumer studies
  • food and consumer product management
  • food science or technology
  • psychology
  • marketing
  • statistics

Some employers may also ask for a postgraduate qualification in a relevant subject like behavioural psychology or consumer behaviour. 

Experience in food manufacturing or market research can help you get into this job.

2. Skills required

You’ll need:

  • excellent research skills
  • the ability to relate to a wide range of people and issues
  • strong presentation skills
  • the confidence to give recommendations on consumer trends
  • IT skills

3. What you'll do

Your day-to-day duties may include:

  • researching and writing reports
  • testing recipes
  • recruiting and training panels or focus groups
  • conducting interviews with consumers
  • researching the tastes, needs and preferences of consumers
  • giving advice to manufacturers and retailers on improving items and services
  • developing tests to make sure products meet quality standards and legal requirements
  • representing consumers' rights 
  • advising hotels, restaurants, schools, residential care homes or hospitals on catering
  • advising on products ranging from household goods to public places
  • producing information on cookery, family health and new products
  • talking with the media
  • advising on healthy living in schools, colleges and universities
  • working for bodies like the Food Standards Agency or Trading Standards

4. Salary

Starter: £19,000 to £24,000

Experienced: £25,000 to £40,000

Highly Experienced: £50,000 (management)

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

Your working hours will vary depending on your employer, but you’ll usually work between 36 and 40 hours a week.

Your place of work will depend on your role. You might be in a lab testing new products and formulations, or you might work from an office, classroom or kitchen. You might also travel to factories, farms and catering sites.

6. Career path and progression

With experience you could progress into a management post. 
With training you could use your experience to move into a career in teaching.  

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Last updated: 06 March 2017