Food & drink

Food scientist

Food scientists and food technologists develop food and drink products, making sure they are safe to consume.

Annual Salary

£20,000 to £45,000

Average UK salary in 2018 was £29,588 (source Office for Statistics)

Working hours

35 to 40

Future employment

There will be 3% more Food scientist jobs in 2024.
In your local area

What's it all about?

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 usually need a foundation degree, HND 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.

£20,000 to £45,000

Starter salary: £20,000 to £25,000

Experienced salary: £25,000 to 30,000

These figures are a guide.

35 to 40

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.

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

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.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • analytical skills
  • the ability to explain ideas to other scientists and production staff
My top 5 skills from the skills bank
Please sign in to compare your skills to this job. Sign in

To save or view your choices and results you must sign in or register (takes 1 minute).

Sign in Register