Food Scientists and Technologists

Use chemistry, microbiology, engineering, and other sciences to study the principles underlying the processing and deterioration of foods; analyze food content to determine levels of vitamins, fat, sugar, and protein; discover new food sources; research ways to make processed foods safe, palatable, and healthful; and apply food science knowledge to determine best ways to process, package, preserve, store, and distribute food.

Median Annual Wage: $61,480

Education: Bachelor's degree (69%); Master's degree (19%); Doctoral degree (8%)

Projected Growth: Average (8% to 14%)

Related Job Titles: Research Scientist; Professor; Quality Assurance Manager (QA Manager); Food Technologist; Food Scientist; Product Development Manager; Product Development Scientist; Food Science Professor; Research and Development Director (R & D Director); Research and Development Manager (R & D Manager)

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Source: O*NET OnLine information for Food Scientists and Technologists.

More Life, Physical, and Social Science Careers

  • Inspect food processing areas to ensure compliance with government regulations and standards for sanitation, safety, quality, and waste management standards.
  • Evaluate food processing and storage operations and assist in the development of quality assurance programs for such operations.
  • Study methods to improve aspects of foods, such as chemical composition, flavor, color, texture, nutritional value, and convenience.
  • Stay up-to-date on new regulations and current events regarding food science by reviewing scientific literature.
  • Confer with process engineers, plant operators, flavor experts, and packaging and marketing specialists to resolve problems in product development.
  • Develop new or improved ways of preserving, processing, packaging, storing, and delivering foods, using knowledge of chemistry, microbiology, and other sciences.
  • Develop food standards and production specifications, safety and sanitary regulations, and waste management and water supply specifications.
  • Test new products for flavor, texture, color, nutritional content, and adherence to government and industry standards.
  • Study the structure and composition of food or the changes foods undergo in storage and processing.
  • Demonstrate products to clients.
  • Develop new food items for production, based on consumer feedback.
  • Search for substitutes for harmful or undesirable additives, such as nitrites.

Source: O*NET OnLine information for Food Scientists and Technologists.

  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Active Learning - Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Monitoring - Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • Complex Problem Solving - Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
  • Judgment and Decision Making - Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
  • Systems Analysis - Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.

Source: O*NET OnLine information for Food Scientists and Technologists.

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