Is Food Science A Good Career for you?

Is Food Science A Good Career?

Society has progressed over a long period. And so has every small aspect constituting it. Food is a major part of any society. It has been a significant subject of study time and again. Professionals have engaged in the science of preserving and manufacturing food. It is to ensure a healthier lifestyle for most people. Now, on the whole, it is imperative to realize that food production has gone through a drastic change. Food production as a need only for the family has now got transformed into production on a much larger scale. Hence, most people today are not connected to the growth of their consumables. Herein comes the concept of food science. This is a branch of science that deals with the production, packaging, and manufacturing of quality food products by professionals at the crossroads of technological developments.

Food Science as a career would involve gaining knowledge about the production and maintenance of high-quality food. It concerns an abundant food supply without compromising the safety of production. Food products are biological in nature. Their behavior, harvesting, processing, packaging, storage, distribution require high-end awareness. This, in turn, demands proper training. Food science as a career option opens a wide variety of fields. Some of them are:

  • Quality Control Specialist
  • Sensory Scientist
  • Technical Sales Representative
  • Product Development Specialist
  • Nutritionist
  • Food Engineer

Therefore, food science is a decent career choice, especially in today’s hustle of life. It is enriching, satisfying, and fulfilling as a job. Individuals can have access to wholesome experiences and yet earn a lump sum. 

Different Branches Of Food Science:

  1. Nutrition: Nutrition is a food science branch that is concerned with nutrients for the human body. Nutritionists assist in striking a healthy balance in dietary needs without neglecting the taste factor. Biochemistry, Genetics, and Molecular Biology Play an important role in this area. It focuses on the right amount of each nutrient depending on the need of a particular body type.

  2. Food Microbiology:  Biological substances usually attract plenty of pathogens. The goal is to look for methods to drop the growth of harmful pathogens on food products. These professionals are responsible for indicating and removing pathogens like bacteria, fungi, yeast, molds in food. But complete removal of pathogens can drive out the necessary bacteria in food. Only the disease-causing germs need to be eliminated. So professionals develop methods to preserve the quality of food by doing the needful.

  3. Sensory Analysis: Taste, texture, flavor, appearance are essential aspects to determine the sale of any food product. Here, sensory analysis comes into the picture. It helps to know the demand for a food product and what sort of a market it has. It is basically a qualitative descriptive analysis of food outlining food features. 

  4. Food Processing and Engineering: Food processing is crucial to maintain the flavor, color, and life of food products. It is done with utmost care in processing units where experts supervise the process in detail. For example, HPP, i.e., High-Pressure Processing, is a technique. Restaurants sometimes use it to eliminate germs from seafood. Food engineers provide effective methods to preserve the nutrition in food items even after adding surplus flavor.

  5. Food Biochemistry: The presence of a variety of compounds in food leads to good nourishment. For example, enzymes like disaccharide lactase and galactose can be vital for an individual. Biochemists research the functionality of such enzymes and how their regulation can affect a healthy diet. These enzymes also find out the pH level and temperatures of food preservation. Thus, this branch has multifarious roles to play.

Food production and manufacturing is one of the largest economic activities in the world today. The fast-paced life has boosted demand for ready-to-eat food items. People have found ways to save time with “instant” and “Minute-ready” food items. So by 2022, the food industry is expected to have a turnover worth billions. Increased convenience and flexible techniques have led food production towards the path of humungous growth. 

What Are The Advantages Of Choosing Food Science?

  1. Diverse Environment: A food science professional can have access to a versatile work environment. It is not limited to desks or offices. For marketing, sales, production, supervision, fieldwork is a must. So, travel opportunities and enhanced communication skills are definite.

  2. Personal Hygiene and Dedication: Providing food for a mass audience has always been considered noble. This profession selectively deals with the provision of food, assuring high quality and safe delivery. Hygiene is of key importance. Teamwork and dedication are thus major driving factors for professionals working in this field. 

  3. Food Testing and Experimentation: The bliss of learning new recipes and developing new techniques is unmatched. This field allows the individual to carry out experiments independently and derive fruitful conclusions from them. And they also get to serve a purpose in the process.

Overall, the field extends to many opportunities that can enhance an individual’s career life. Since the population is limited in this field, competition is not very strenuous. Besides, food science as a career offers so many positions that can be chosen from. The options and limitless, and exploration can be unbound.

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What Are The Challenges of Choosing Food Science?

The arena of food science involves extensive study of several subjects. Individuals need to grasp mathematical and scientific concepts. It requires a deep understanding of organic chemistry and biology. Not find themselves capable of it. The difficulty level of all courses involved in the field does pose issues for many. These classes are tough to pass. Thus, students find mathematics and other options more lucrative. 

There exists another major drawback to pursuing this career. Very few undergraduate programs are available in this area. The colleges that provide such courses are rare. Also, the qualification demanded by industries is much higher than graduates and postgraduates. Industries nowadays prefer higher-level degrees, like a doctorate. Some people might find such investment of time and wealth unrealistic.

Salary Details:

As mentioned earlier, the branch of food science opens up multiple positions in the career. So salary of any food professional depends heavily on this factor. Yet, as per renowned salary reports of 2017, any professional’s median salary in this field is approximately $92,000. For entry-level personnel, the pay scale starts from $50,000 on average. 

Following are some career titles and their respective salaries in this field.

Career TitlesJob DescriptionAverage Salaries
Research and Development People involved in research and development utilize their skills in microbiology, biochemistry, organic chemistry and engineering efficiently. They develop principles to better food quality and ease in product management$100,000 to $130,000
Food ChemistFood chemists are responsible for analyzing the packaging, canning, preserving of food products as per their constituents. They prepare reports about the effects of processing on different food items. $75,000 to $82,000
Food EngineerFood engineers develop mechanisms to facilitate the effective storing and processing of food. They work closely with product development professionals to provide the required technical support in manufacturing work.$97,000 to $108,000
Food TechnologistThey combine their know-how of food ingredients and raw materials to analyze the optimum scenarios for processing and preserving food products.$65,000 – $72,000
NutritionistNutritionists are advisors who speak about food nutrients and compounds about how they impact the body. There can be sports nutrition, public health, animal nutrition and the like.$90,000 to $95,000
Food Marketing and SalesThese professionals assist in the distribution of food products through in-person meets with product developers. The goal is achieved through technical presentations, print and virtual media. $98,000 to $112,000

What Educational Qualifications Are Required?

  • Bachelor’s Degree in Food Science for entry-level jobs.
  • Masters And Doctoral Programs for specialized training.
  • Strong verbal and written communication skills.
  • Dedication to teamwork.
  • Good analytical skills.

Recruitment Statistics:

  • Industries with the Highest Employment in Food Science
IndustryEmployment Percent of industry employmentHourly mean wageAnnual mean wage 
Other Food Manufacturing1,9900.89$37.62$78,240
Management of Companies and Enterprises1,5000.06$39.55$82,250
Dairy Product Manufacturing1,2800.85$32.88$68,400
Grain and Oilseed Milling1,1401.89$41.05$85,370
Scientific Research and Development Services1,1200.16$42.05$87,460
  • Industries with the Highest Concentration of Workers
IndustryEmployment Percent of industry employmentHourly mean wageAnnual mean wage
Grain and Oilseed Milling1,1401.89$41.05$85,370
Other Food Manufacturing1,9900.89$37.62$78,240
Dairy Product Manufacturing1,2800.85$32.88$68,400
Animal Food Manufacturing3300.51$35.22$73,270
Fruit and Vegetable Preserving and Specialty Food Manufacturing7700.46$35.57$73,980
  • Top Paying Industries in Food Science
IndustryEmploymentPercent of industry employmentHourly mean wageAnnual mean wage 
Federal Executive Branch (OES Designation)800.005$49.37$102,700
Pharmaceutical and Medicine Manufacturing1600.05$44.27$92,070
Merchant Wholesalers, Nondurable Goods (4242 and 4246 only)1900.05$43.17$89,790
Scientific Research and Development Services1,1200.16$42.05$87,460
Grain and Oilseed Milling1,1401.89$41.05$85,370

Statistics Source: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes191012.htm (as of May 2019)

Also read Nutritionist vs Dietitian: What’s the difference?

Is Food Science A Good Career for you?

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