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Career ideas

Why choose a career in Food Science & Technology?

The production and distribution of food, including agriculture, fisheries and related services, is the largest and most important economic activity in the world. The health and welfare of people everywhere depend on good agricultural yields and on the reliable storage, successful processing and safe handling of all types of food. Food professionals work in many occupations including industry (manufacturing, retailing and food service), universities and schools, government, research and development, quality assurance and food law enforcement - but whatever their occupation, their overriding responsibility is to provide safe and nutritious food for the consumer. The food sector as a whole is crying out for well-qualified and experienced specialists who can play their part in the complex and increasingly sophisticated food supply system.

Career options

These are just a selection of the many jobs within the world of food science and technology which you could consider.

Quality technician • Safety Evaluation Officer • Technical Services Manager • Production Manager • Compliance Officer • Auditor • Development Chef • Nutritionist • Health & Safety Manager • Logistics Director • Refrigeration Engineer • Safety Evaluation Officer • Process Technologist • Chemist • Microbiologist • Sensory Analyst • Training Manager • Quality Systems Manager • Supplier Assurance Manager • Buyer • Production Team Leader • Business Development Manager• Procurement Director • Packaging Technologist • Environmental Technician • Raw Materials Technician • Hygienist • Toxicologist • Laboratory Manager • Technical Sales • Distribution Planning Manager • Legal Compliance Manager • Engineer

Not sure which path to take? 

Tasty Careers - have produced a careers map which shows the career path opportunities within the food and drink sector.​ It also contains industry career information detailing typical duties and what you can expect of the job, salary and qualifications required. Industry vacancies are also advertised on the website, allowing you to get a feel for the work you could be getting involved in.  

Taste Success - (led by the Food and Drink Federation FDF) have also produced their own series of careers maps (1) (2) (3) to show the different jobs involved in taking a product to the shelves.

FDF Scotland - have produced graphics to illustrate the different jobs in the food industry. (1) (2) (3) (4

UCAS Explore jobs - UCAS have listed potential jobs for students that wish to study Food Technology.

Chilled Education - gives unique insights in the chilled food sector through career path interviews with industry professionals and case studies of graduates in the early stages of their careers. The website also has job descriptions outlining duties expected and qualification requirements needed for the roles available in the chilled food industry.

Chartered Institute of Horticulture - supports the Grow Careers initiative to educate people on the range of horticulture careers available. Find a horticulture job that interests you.   

Food and Drink Training & Education Council (ftc)- ftc design food industry apprenticeships, and specifically led the development of the Butchery Trailblazer Apprenticeship. Visit their website to find out how apprenticeships have changed for the better, and what being an apprentice butcher involves.

Find out more about careers in the food sector 

Career Options

Chilled Education - has conducted a series of interviews with chilled food industry employees (ranging from graduate level to CEO) giving an overview of their career paths and qualifications required.

The Big Bang Fair - find out more about opportunities in the food industry by heading to a careers fair. The Big Bang Fair is aimed at people aged 7-19 so there's something for everyone.

Bright Crop - have produced interviews (written and video) with those employed in the farming and food industry, showing that a career in the agricultural field is not limited to just mud and wellies. Directors were also asked of their career paths and day-to-day duties, allowing you to see what it takes to get to the top. 

Student Career LaunchPad - IFST's Student Career LaunchPad event supports food science students by providing them with an experience to clarify their understanding and perceptions of the food sector and the wide range of job roles on offer.

Top Tips

Bright Crop - find out what employers look for in candidates applying to join the food and farming industry.

Work experience and placements

Undertaking a work placement during your time at university is always great for your CV to show employers that you have initiative and a demonstrable interest for the sector that you want to work in.  It also starts to build valuable experience for future roles.

Chilled Food Association - you can find contact details of CFA members to approach for work experience or apprenticeship opportunities. You’ll need to specify your qualification and area of interest.

Secondary School: 

  • Nuffield Research Placements - are available to those taking one or more A-levels (or equivalent) in maths, science, engineering or a technology-related subjects. These placements are undertaken for 4-6 weeks during the summer holidays. Students can work alongside scientists, technologists, engineers and mathematicians.  

University:

  • Sheffield Hallam - Sheffield Hallam's food engineering MEng course provides near guaranteed opportunities for paid placements in the food and drink industry when you graduate. This is an opportunity on behalf of FDF's Graduate Excellence Programme. 
  • RSci & RsciTech - having completed a year in industry during university, you may be qualified to become a Registered Scientist (RSci) or Registered Scientist Technician (RSciTech). These are professional registers from the Science Council and provided by IFST which recognise achievement and maintenance of the exacting standards required to join the global community of professional scientists. 

What other students say:

  • IFST  - blogs and videos are available here for you to see what students have to say about their placement experiences.  
  • Chilled Food Association read about placement experiences from those that worked at members of the Chilled Food Association.