Food technologists are those who are responsible for the safe and efficient development, modification and manufacture of food products and processes.They plan recipes and manage their production on a large scale.
Food technologists plan the manufacture of food and drink products and can work in a wide range of settings, including kitchens, factories, laboratories and offices. Consequently, specific responsibilities vary greatly but may include:
Employers of food technologists include food manufacturing and retail companies, universities, government organisations and specialist research associations/consultancies.
Opportunities are advertised by careers services and recruitment agencies, and in newspapers and specialist publications including Food Manufacture, both online and in print. Early applications are advisable to larger employers. Speculative applications are also recommended, for which directories such as the Ingredients Network may be useful.
There are reasonable opportunities for advancement into senior technologist/managerial positions, providing that employees are able to change employer or to relocate if necessary.
There are routes into a food technology career for both university graduates and school leavers. Graduates will need a degree in an appropriate subject, such as food science/technology, food/chemical engineering, biochemistry, nutrition, microbiology or chemistry. Possession of a food-related postgraduate qualification can be beneficial, particularly for candidates without a relevant first degree. Job shadowing, networking and vacation placements can be helpful, and candidates possessing food industry work experience are often at an advantage. Experience can be gained via food production line employment or by working as a technician.
As a school leaver, you could get into this career through an apprenticeship or an entry-level role. Unilever, for example, offers a research and development higher apprenticeship, working on its food and drink products.