Is Packaged Foods a Good Career Path?

Is Packaged Foods a Good Career Path?

Since the dawn of human societies, the food consumed has only been locally harvested. But the food consumed today originates from all around the world. Even in a homemade hamburger with the ingredients purchased from a local supermarket, the meat is from Texas, the spices from Mexico, the tomatoes from California, the cheese from Italy, the lettuce from Canada, and the preservatives from Australia. Is Packaged Foods a Good Career Path?

Food processing is a branch of Food Science, which includes various methodologies and approaches to alter raw materials into consumable foods for humans and animals. In the food web, it is a crucial bridge between producers and consumers. Therefore it plays a vital role in our daily lives and any career in this field is extremely promising.

Purpose of the Food Companies

The development of modern food processing technology in the late nineteenth and twentieth century was to cater to and serve military needs. Food processing is a broad term that includes various methods like processing, preserving, manufacturing, packaging and, canning food items. 

The primary purpose of these food companies is to supply good quality products to the consumers. They follow strict government regulations that ensure the safety and hygiene of the food packaging process. 

They are also responsible for implementing quality processes in the production lines, besides transformation, preparation, elaboration, conservation and, packaging of food products for both human and animal consumption.

Top 5 Food and Beverage Manufacturing Companies in the US

  1. PepsiCo Inc.
  2. Tyson Food Inc.
  3. Nestle
  4. JBS USA
  5. Kraft Heinz Co

This chart shows the food sales (in US dollars) in the last two years of the top 5 food and beverage companies of the United States.

There are a wide variety of jobs available in this sector in the USA and the whole world, making it a good career path. 

Growth of Food and Beverage Manufacturing Companies in the US

The drive for the growth of the food packaging technology and equipment market is due to the rapid developments and growth of the food and beverage industry.

Industries like baking and confectioneries have a significant influence in packaging and equipment technology due to the importance of necessary processes like temperature regulation, flavor maintenance, and focus on sanitary measures.

Importance of Jobs in Food Packaging Industry

The food engineers have performed successfully in the biscuits are crisp inside their packaging, the store-bought rice is still soft and mushy, the chips remain the same in airtight packets, and packaged meats are still fresh. 

This is a business sector that is responsible for the designing and manufacturing of packaged products. These include all kinds of things, ranging from the display cases of the products to the boxes used during transit for their safety and protection.

Packaging is of utmost importance due to protecting, transporting, displaying, and presenting both small and large products. Food companies use bubble wraps, molded foam, and other packaging products to maintain the safety of products through safe and secure packaging.

Their main concern is not a presentation but protection of the products, different from other companies who are more inclined towards good packaging for displaying products along with compelling visuals to attract the consumers’ attention.

They also need to meet certain industrial and legal standards, for example, the overall dimensions that make the processes of storage and transportation of the products easier for the distributor.

Availability of Jobs in Food and Beverages

The agriculture and food production industry, both public and private, has a workforce constituting one-third of the total world’s population.

Despite having a large number of companies in this sector, only a few can truly exert a wide influence, resulting in unlimited jobs in food packaging.

It is a vast industry that provides opportunities in employment for designers, engineers, line workers, lawyers as well as those from other fields. Some are multinational and even provide shares and dividends on public markets while others are privately owned small ones.

This bar graph shows the top 15 food packaging salaries per region in US dollars

Types of Jobs in the Food Packaging Industry

The job originated on the assembly line but the current industry demands different individuals for multiple talents from different.

  1. Production:

Despite most jobs in production are entry-level, they lead to various higher-level careers in the industry. The most common roles in production are line workers, mechanics, and operators and their responsibilities are all packaging-related. 

These include sorting, packing, and shipping. They keep on finding new efficient ways for packaging while continuing to do their assigned tasks. The job fits perfectly for those who are interested in the structure like to work with their hands and have a knack for problem-solving.

  1. Engineering:

This is one of the crucial fields in the food packaging industry. They are professionals who utilize their expertise in packaging materials. This is done by using the most advanced mechanical, engineering, and chemical knowledge.

It’s also their responsibility to select the most suitable raw materials consisting of all the requirements like durability, strength, cost efficiency, and shelf life. This field is perfect for those who have excellent math and science skills and prefer working with technology.

  1. Sales and Marketing:

People from the sales department utilize their business acumen and good communicating skills to market the products to their clients. They work along with brand experts, engineers, and copywriters for the creation of impressive packaging that is bound to produce good results.

Designers are responsible for making the items unique and attractive. As marketing specialists, they have to study the design, color, shape, and texture of the items for enticing the consumers and creating a demand for these products.

Consumer strategists uncover the latest trends in sales and buying demands to understand public behavior. After all the revenues can be affected by the subtle changes in designs and positioning.

  1. Support Services

Support services are essential for a company to run smoothly. These include information, human resources, technology, legal, and safety departments. Huge support budgets of the large packaging brands ensure the future growth and success of the sector.

  1. Leadership and Management:

The right experience and skill set would guarantee better opportunities for the executives in food packaging. There are plenty of opportunities available due to their high demand globally.

The same can be said for strategic leaders who are both capable and experienced. These include the VPs, directors, C-Level talents that are necessary for the different departments of food packaging like sales and marketing, research and development, operations, etc.

Examples of Jobs in the Food Packaging Industry

  1. Packaging Engineer:

A packaging engineer is involved in all the parts of the packaging production. This consists of testing, designing, and even proper methods shipping of the products. 

This job is most suitable for those who excel at maths, science, and technology. They should also have an interest in industry trends and designs.

The average salary for packaging engineers in the US falls between the range of $60,052 and $77,447. 

  1. Package Designer:

Every big company depends upon its packaging designer. They are in charge of designing the packaging aesthetics that include the graphics, colors, and fonts.

A person with an industrial packaging background is more suitable since they have to work alongside engineers, copywriters, and marketing experts for making the products have the ability to catch the consumers’ eye.

The average salary of a packaging designer in the US per year is $62,400 or per hour is $32. The salary of those at the entry-level stat at $52,650 per annum and the most experienced one make $85,000 per annum.

  1. Packaging Specialist

Packaging specialists are those who have all the required knowledge regarding packaging. These may include knowledge about simple things like the packaging glue used to more important matters like the increasing sales of the product.

They have a choice of either working as a consultant or in-house. The position requires one to always have expert knowledge of the materials, labels, adhesives, and packaging technologies.

The average salary for packaging specialists in the US is $68,502 but their salary ranges between $59,810 and $77,135.

  1. Consumer Behavior Analyst

This is the perfect job for those who prefer to work behind the scenes. For this job, one has to have the latest knowledge of marketing trends through surveys’ studies’ focus groups, etc.

Some examples would be the amount of impact a certain logo might have or the color of the font which helps the consumer choose that particular product.

The average salary of the consumer behavior analysts in the US is $14007 and it usually ranges between $40372 and $41,642.

  1. Packaging Operator

Anyone interested in the process of the packaging rather than its appearance is perfect for this job. A packaging operator is responsible for developing the packaging product system or testing machinery. 

The average salary of a packaging operator in the US is $31,200 per annum or $16 per hour. The ones at the entry-level start with a salary of $27,300 per year and the most experienced ones receive $39,000 per year.

Wages in Food Packaging Industry

The skill and type of work decide the wages of an employee in this sector. The designer responsible for aesthetics and presentation gets paid more than a person working on a production line.

The per capita income in Food Packaging in the US is $31,730.

This bar graph shows the salaries of different jobs in US dollars


The food industry, as a high-tech industry with high rate of employment rate. The demand for fresh and properly packaged cheap products with a long shelf life by the consumers creates new fields for engineers. They have to work hard in delivering perishable goods in a short amount of time. The convenience food market along with the online food retailing market has also seen some growth in the present years.

Packaging foods is indeed a good career path to choose that provides innumerable possibilities.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the required qualification for pursuing a career in this path?

One should have the essential educational requirements, for example, a person with a Master’s degree in Biotechnology can apply for an engineer’s job.

2. Are internships provided in this field?

Just like any other industry, there are ample internship offers in this industry.

3.  Are there any disadvantages to choosing this field?

The advantages outnumber the disadvantages. As long as one is dedicative and willing to take initiative, there will be no regrets.

Is Packaged Foods a Good Career Path?

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