Consumer Scientist

Job Description:

Consumer scientists research the needs of people as consumers, and use their findings to advice shops and other businesses.

Job Category:
Food & Drink

What you will do:

Your day-to-day duties may include:

  • researching and writing reports
  • testing recipes
  • recruiting and training panels or focus groups (leadership skills)
  • conducting interviews with consumers
  • researching the tastes, needs and preferences of consumers
  • giving advice to manufacturers and retailers on improving items and services
  • developing tests to make sure products meet quality standards and legal requirements
  • representing consumers’ rights
  • advising hotels, restaurants, schools, residential care homes or hospitals on catering
  • advising on products ranging from household goods to public places
  • producing information on cookery, family health and new products
  • talking with the media
  • advising on healthy living in schools, colleges and universities
  • working for bodies like the Food Standards Agency or Trading Standards (UK examples)


You’ll need:

  • maths knowledge
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages confidently

As well as:

  • analytical thinking skills
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to use your initiative (drive)
  • customer service skills
  • persistence and determination
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • the ability to use your judgement and make decisions (leadership skills)
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

To become a Consumer Scientist, there are no specific subjects required, as Consumer Science is typically a field of study at the university. However, certain subjects can provide a strong foundation for pursuing higher education and a career in Consumer Science or a related field. Consumer Scientists study consumer behaviour, economics, and various aspects of consumer products and services. Here are some relevant subjects:

  1. Mathematics (Maths): Strong mathematical skills are important for analysing data related to consumer behaviour, market research, and economic trends.
  2. English Language: Effective written and verbal communication skills are essential for conducting research, writing reports, and presenting findings.
  3. Science: A general understanding of science principles can be beneficial, especially if you plan to study consumer science topics related to food, nutrition, or health.
  4. Social Sciences: Courses in subjects like psychology, sociology, or economics can provide insights into human behaviour, which is crucial in understanding consumer choices.
  5. Business Studies or Economics: Business Studies or Economics can provide a basic understanding of economic principles, market dynamics, and business operations, which are relevant to Consumer Science.

Post School

You’ll usually need a degree or equivalent qualification in a relevant subject like:

  • consumer studies
  • food and consumer product management
  • food science or technology
  • psychology
  • marketing
  • statistics

Some employers may also ask for a postgraduate qualification in a relevant subject like behavioural psychology or consumer behaviour.

Experience in food manufacturing or market research can help you get into this job.

Working Hours and Environment:

Your working hours will vary depending on your employer, but you’ll usually work between 36 and 40 hours a week.

Your place of work will depend on your role. You might be in a lab testing new products and formulations, or you might work from an office, classroom or kitchen. You might also travel to factories, farms and catering sites.

Career Path & Progression:

With experience you could progress into a management post.
With training you could use your experience to move into a career in teaching.