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Food scientist Food technologist

Food scientists and food technologists develop food and drink products, making sure they are safe to consume.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £20,000 to £45,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 35 to 40 per week

1. Entry requirements

You'll usually need a foundation degree, HND or degree in a subject like food science, food studies or food technology. Employers may also accept other subjects like chemistry or nutrition.

Another way in is to start out as a lab technician and study towards qualifications while you work.

2. Skills required

You'll need:

  • analytical skills
  • the ability to explain ideas to other scientists and production staff

3. What you'll do

As a food scientist, you'll:

  • provide accurate nutritional information for food labelling
  • investigate ways to keep food fresh, safe and attractive
  • find ways to save time and money in food making
  • test the safety and quality of food

As a food technologist, you'll:

  • blend new ingredients to invent and modify recipes
  • conduct experiments and produce sample products
  • design production processes and machinery

You'll need to follow industry regulations.

4. Salary

Starter: £20,000 to £25,000

Experienced: £25,000 to 30,000

Highly Experienced: £30,000 to £45,000

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You'll usually work 9am to 5pm. You may have to work shifts to cover production runs.

You'll work in laboratories and research departments or on production lines, monitoring operations and quality control. You may need to travel to warehouses, distribution centres and suppliers' factories.

6. Career path and progression

You could work for a range of organisations involved in researching and developing new products, including:

  • food manufacturers and supermarkets
  • government and university research establishments
  • local authorities

You could improve your career prospects by getting Registered Scientist (RSci) or Chartered Scientist (CSci) status through the Institute of Food Science and Technology.

With experience you could become a project leader or manage a department like research and development or quality control. You could also move into fields like chemical engineering, agricultural research, toxicology or nutrition science.

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Last updated: 11 April 2017