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Career profile: Food scientist

Career profile: Food scientistFind out about the people who use science to create recipes that are tastier, healthier and more long-lasting

A what?

Food scientists work in the food and drinks industry to create new products and improve things you can already buy. They will be looking at things like flavour, preservation and safety as they create and test recipes.

On the job

Food scientists can work in a range of places from laboratories and research departments to factories, where they keep an eye on the production process.

Some of the main responsibilities for a food scientist are:

  • working on newly discovered ingredients to invent new recipes and ideas
  • modifying foods such as the creation of fat-free products
  • conducting experiments and producing sample products
  • designing the processes and machinery for making products in large quantities

Food scientists and technologists also have knowledge of chemical engineering, production planning, market and consumer research, and financial management.

Future prospects

There are lots of opportunities for qualified food scientists and technologists, as they are needed in a range of organisations interested in researching and developing new products, including:

  • food manufacturers
  • retailers and supermarket chains
  • government research establishments
  • universities
  • local authorities

Newly qualified food scientists and technologists can earn around £20,000 to £25,000 a year. With experience and increased responsibilities, you may earn over £40,000 a year, depending on your employer.

How do I get there?

To work as a food scientist or food technologist you need a strong background in science, and usually a BTECHNC/HND or degree in a subject such as food science, chemistry, food studies, or food technology.

The entry requirements for a degree will usually include five GCSEs (A-C)/S grades (1-3) plus two or three A-levels/H grades, preferably in chemistry or biology. For a BTEC HNC/HND, requirements are usually one or two A-levels/H grades or equivalent.

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