In Summary - Food Scientist
Food Scientists typically work in the following Career Sectors:
The Work - Food Scientist
The terms 'Food Scientist' and 'Food Technologist' are often interchanged.
The Scientist is concerned with the fundamental nature of things, including the biological materials that constitute foods. The Technologist puts knowledge to work in a practical way to produce food, using engineering and biology and other sciences.
Foodstuffs are mostly very complex and subject to changes, so the Technologist must work very closely with the Scientist. Scientists study the composition of food, its physical, chemical and biological nature, and the changes it undergoes under various conditions. They work to turn raw materials into appealing food products, efficiently and safely. Scientists may develop new sources of foods and improve existing foods by increasing their nutritional value and storage life, by enhancing their flavour, appearance, and eating quality.
The Technologist may be involved in research but is more usually employed in the factory in production, development, management and quality control, and ensuring that both science and technology are applied in the best way.
Food Technicians are also required in the running of a modern food factory. They assist the Technologist or Scientist, with a wide range of special techniques in analysis and process control. For example, some foods must be analysed to ensure that their composition is within the legal limits set for the market, where they will be sold.
Quality control is necessary in all food production to provide the consumer with what he/she wants.
Many food scientists and technologists have to consider the environmental impact of their work. They may research new ways to package food, to reduce waste and use materials that can be recycled.
Food scientists and technologists may work in the area of public health and food Inspection, working in a local authority environmental health department.
Most commonly reported Work Tasks
- Check raw ingredients for maturity or stability for processing and finished products for safety, quality, and nutritional value.
- 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.
- Test new products for flavor, texture, color, nutritional content, and adherence to government and industry standards.
- Develop food standards and production specifications, safety and sanitary regulations, and waste management and water supply specifications.
- Develop new or improved ways of preserving, processing, packaging, storing, and delivering foods, using knowledge of chemistry, microbiology, and other sciences.
- Confer with process engineers, plant operators, flavor experts, and packaging and marketing specialists to resolve problems in product development.
- Study the structure and composition of food or the changes foods undergo in storage and processing.
Most commonly reported Work Activities
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
- Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Analyzing Data or Information Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
- Interacting With Computers Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
- Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
- Documenting/Recording Information Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Processing Information Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
- Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.
Interests - Food Scientist
This occupation is typically suited for people with the following Career Interests:
The Investigative person will usually find a particular area of science to be of interest. They are inclined toward intellectual and analytical activities and enjoy observation and theory. They may prefer thought to action, and enjoy the challenge of solving problems with sophiscticated technology. These types prefer mentally stimulating environments and often pay close attention to developments in their chosen field.
Not surprisingly, some aspect of the natural sciences will run through the Naturalist's interests - from ecological awareness to nutrition and health. People with an interest in horticulture, land usage and farming (including fish) are Naturalists.
Some Naturalists focus on animals rather than plants, and may enjoy working with, training, caring for, or simply herding them. Other Naturalists will prefer working with the end result of nature's produce - the food produced from plants and animals. Naturalists like solving problems with solutions that show some sensitivity to the environmental impact of what they do. They like to see practical results and prefer action to talking and discussing.
Administrative people are interested in work that offers security and a sense of being part of a larger process. They may be at their most productive under supervisors who give clear guidelines and while performing routine tasks in a methodical and reliable way.
They tend to enjoy clerical and most forms of office work, where they perform essential administrative duties. They often form the backbone of large and small organisations alike. They may enjoy being in charge of office filing systems, and using computers and other office equipment to keep things running smoothly. They usually like routine work hours and prefer comfortable indoor workplaces.
You must be able to solve problems, work in teams and communicate clearly to non-technical colleagues. You will need self-motivation to take responsibility for a food product.
A willingness to learn and develop your knowledge is also important as the technology and industry is constantly changing and improving and you will need to keep up-to-date with latest developments.
The food industry is heavily regulated and you would need to be aware of relevant legislation.
Entry Requirements - Food Scientist
Pay & Salary - Food Scientist
Salary Range (thousands per year)* 28k - 55k
Food Microbiologist: 28 - 55
Food Chemist: 28 - 45
Last Updated: July, 2015
* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.