Food Scientist

Job Description:

Food scientists and technologists research and experiment with new food-making methods and products, and test food for its safety and quality.

Job Category:
Food & Drink

What you will do:

As a food scientist, you’ll:

  • provide accurate nutritional information for food labelling
  • investigate ways to keep food fresh, safe and attractive
  • find ways to save time and money in food making
  • test the safety and quality of food

As a food technologist, you’ll:

  • blend new ingredients to invent and modify recipes
  • conduct experiments and produce sample products
  • design production processes and machinery

You’ll need to follow industry regulations.


You’ll need:

  • knowledge of chemistry including the safe use and disposal of chemicals
  • knowledge of manufacturing production and processes
  • maths knowledge
  • knowledge of biology
  • knowledge of food production methods
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

As well as:

Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

To become a food scientist, you’ll typically need a strong educational background in relevant subjects, although there are no specific requirements. Food scientists play a crucial role in the development and improvement of food products, ensuring their safety, quality, and nutritional value. Here are the steps to pursue a career in food science:

  1. Basic high school subjects: While there are no specific subjects required for food science, having good grades in subjects like science (biology and chemistry), mathematics, and English can be advantageous. These subjects provide a foundation in essential skills, such as scientific reasoning and communication, that are relevant to food science.

Post School

You’ll usually need a foundation degree, Higher National Diploma or degree in a subject like food science, food studies or food technology. Employers may also accept other subjects like chemistry or nutrition.

Another way in is to start out as a lab technician and study towards qualifications while you work.

Working Hours and Environment:

You’ll usually work 9am to 5pm. You may have to work shifts to cover production runs.

You’ll work in laboratories and research departments or on production lines, monitoring operations and quality control. You may need to travel to warehouses, distribution centres and suppliers’ factories.

Career Path & Progression:

You could work for a range of organisations involved in researching and developing new products, including:

  • food manufacturers and supermarkets
  • government and university research establishments
  • local authorities

In the UK, you could improve your career prospects by getting Registered Scientist (RSci) or Chartered Scientist (CSci) status through the Institute of Food Science and Technology.

With experience you could become a project leader or manage a department like research and development or quality control. You could also move into fields like chemical engineering, agricultural research, toxicology or nutrition science.