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Career Profile: 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.

Salary and Outlook

According to the US Department of Labor, there are 15,000 people employed as food scientists and technologists in the United States. The median annual salary is $73,500. Entry level employees earn approximately $41,240 per year and senior employees earn approximately $130,430 per year.

Estimates do not include other potential benefits such as health insurance, overtime pay, or retirement benefits that may be offered by employers.

Job Duties

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

Career List

Job Outlook


Total Current Jobs:
15,000
Annual Openings:
1,700
Increase in Openings by 2030:
7%
Annual Salary Range:
$41,240 - $130,430
Education Requirements:
Bachelor's degree