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Food Scientist or Technologist

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What Do Food Scientist or Technologist Do?

Career Description 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.

A Day in the Life of a Food Scientist or Technologist

  • Seek substitutes for harmful or undesirable additives, such as nitrites.
  • Check raw ingredients for maturity or stability for processing, and finished products for safety, quality, and nutritional value.
  • Develop food standards and production specifications, safety and sanitary regulations, and waste management and water supply specifications.
  • Develop new or improved ways of preserving, processing, packaging, storing, and delivering foods, using knowledge of chemistry, microbiology, and other sciences.
  • Stay up to date on new regulations and current events regarding food science by reviewing scientific literature.
  • Inspect food processing areas to ensure compliance with government regulations and standards for sanitation, safety, quality, and waste management.

What Skills Do You Need to Work as a Food Scientist or Technologist?

Below is a list of the skills most Food Scientists and Technologists say are important on the job.

Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Writing: Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

Reading Comprehension: Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

Active Learning: Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.

Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

  • Value Analysis Coordinator
  • Quality Assurance Manager (QA Manager)
  • Technical Director
  • Quality Control Scientist (QC Scientist)
  • Product Development Scientist

Is There Going to be Demand for Food Scientists and Technologists?

In the United States, there were 17,000 jobs for Food Scientist or Technologist in 2016. New jobs are being produced at a rate of 5.9% which is above the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 1,000 new jobs for Food Scientist or Technologist by 2026. Due to new job openings and attrition, there will be an average of 1,800 job openings in this field each year.


The states with the most job growth for Food Scientist or Technologist are Utah, Colorado, and Arkansas. Watch out if you plan on working in Washington, Vermont, or South Carolina. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

Do Food Scientists and Technologists Make A Lot Of Money?

The salary for Food Scientists and Technologists ranges between about $39,510 and $118,630 a year.


Food Scientists and Technologists who work in District of Columbia, Illinois, or Massachusetts, make the highest salaries.

How much do Food Scientists and Technologists make in different U.S. states?

State Annual Mean Salary
Alabama $54,340
Arizona $65,100
Arkansas $84,580
California $72,580
Colorado $68,520
Connecticut $81,290
District of Columbia $97,570
Florida $76,740
Georgia $65,500
Idaho $67,600
Illinois $89,700
Indiana $72,760
Iowa $67,360
Kansas $76,380
Kentucky $58,260
Maine $52,000
Maryland $87,530
Massachusetts $87,700
Michigan $59,610
Minnesota $80,320
Missouri $65,190
Nebraska $72,100
New Jersey $78,560
New York $61,630
North Carolina $58,430
Ohio $78,950
Oklahoma $54,720
Oregon $65,750
Pennsylvania $76,670
Rhode Island $73,400
South Dakota $56,150
Tennessee $60,330
Texas $67,500
Utah $59,890
Vermont $86,360
Virginia $67,950
Washington $62,830
Wisconsin $63,140

Tools & Technologies Used by Food Scientists and Technologists

Although they’re not necessarily needed for all jobs, the following technologies are used by many Food Scientists and Technologists:

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Office
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • SAP
  • Insightful S-PLUS
  • Image analysis software

Becoming a Food Scientist or Technologist

What kind of Food Scientist or Technologist requirements are there?


What work experience do I need to become a Food Scientist or Technologist?


Food Scientists and Technologists Sector


The table below shows the approximate number of Food Scientists and Technologists employed by various industries.


Other Jobs You May be Interested In

Those thinking about becoming a Food Scientist or Technologist might also be interested in the following careers:

Career changers with experience as a Food Scientist or Technologist sometimes find work in one of the following fields:


Image Credit: W.carter via Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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