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Food scientists

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Food scientists apply scientific expertise and technological principles to the study of food products and processes within manufacturing and research settings.

Food scientists study the microbiological, physical and chemical properties of food and ingredients to make sure they are safe for consumers. Responsibilities of the job include:

  • evaluating the nutritional value, colour, flavour and texture of food

  • testing food samples for particular types of moulds, yeast and bacteria that may be harmful

  • ensuring that food manufacturing processes conform with government, processing, consumer and industry standards

  • exploring alternative manufacturing methods

  • producing new food products

  • working closely with other food production staff including microbiologists, engineers, packaging specialists and buyers

  • establishing low-cost wholesale food production methods

  • investigating and setting standards for safety and quality

 

Qualifications and training required

 

To become a food scientist, a good bachelor’s degree in an appropriate subject such as food science/technology, food/chemical engineering, biochemistry, nutrition, microbiology or chemistry is normally necessary. Possession of a food-related postgraduate qualification can be beneficial, particularly for candidates without a relevant first degree. 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. Job shadowing, networking and vacation placements can also be helpful.

 

Key skills for food scientists

 

  • Knowledge of a range of sciences and their applications to food

  • Good business, IT, analytical and numerical abilities

  • Being a confident independent worker

  • Meticulous attention to detail, particularly with regard to health, safety and hygiene

  • Good communication skills

  • Strong teamworking skills

 

Typical employers

 

Employers of food scientists include food manufacturing and retail companies, universities, government organisations and specialist research associations.

 



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