Food Scientist: Job Duties, Occupational Outlook, and Education Prerequisites

Food scientists may ensure that food processing centers meet health guidelines, or they may do research to improve a food's taste while adding to its health benefits. Read on to learn more about food scientist jobs, the formal education required to enter this field and the employment outlook. Schools offering Art of Cooking degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Are My Job Duties as a Food Scientist?

As a food scientist, you draw from the fields of biology, microbiology, chemistry and engineering to look for better ways to select, preserve, process, package and distribute food products. Your expertise may be used to analyze both raw ingredients and finished goods, and your daily duties can vary based on your area of specialization. You can also experiment with new additives, substitutes and production processes to promote healthier food products. You may also inspect food processing centers to ensure that their facilities are up to standard.

Your professional expertise is not limited to increasing the nutritional value of food products, since you can also work on improving the appearance and taste of certain foods. You may work with engineers, production personnel and marketing experts to resolve any product development problems. Whether your position involves basic or applied research, promoting food safety is also an essential component of your job. As new food products and processing methods are developed, you may be relied on to ensure that no harmful agents are introduced to the ingredients being used.

What Is My Occupational Outlook?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in 2008, employment opportunities for food scientists would increase by 16% through 2018 (www.bls.gov). This promising growth for your profession could be due to the need for increased food quantity and quality for an expanding population as well as more public awareness about healthy eating habits. Advancing biotechnology and new food products may also contribute to the demand for food scientists. Your profession had an average yearly salary of $65,380, as reported by the BLS in May 2010.

What Are My Educational Prerequisites?

Completing a Bachelor of Science in Food Science is typically your minimum requirement for entry-level food scientist positions. Your areas of study can include biochemistry, microbiology, food processing, nutrition, industry regulations and food safety. Many programs will also allow you to specialize in a food science category. A master's degree or Ph.D. may be required if you wish to teach or conduct research through universities.

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