A food scientist is responsible for finding ways to make our food last longer. In general, a food scientist develops and improves food. He researches food and figures out better ways to package and preserve them. He can be found in universities, the food processing industry, and the federal government. A food scientist applies science to improve the lives of others through food.
According to the Occupational Information Network (O*Net), a food scientist applies engineering, chemistry, microbiology and other sciences to study and research principles behind food processing and deterioration. A food scientist determines vitamin, fat, protein and sugar levels; discovers brand new food sources; makes processed food safer, tastier and healthier; and applies the science of food to figure out the best ways possible to process, preserve, package, store and distribute different types of food.
According to Collegeboard.com, a nonprofit membership association that connects students to college opportunities, a food scientist determines nutritional profiles of all types of foods, such as macaroni and cheese. If a national foodbourne outbreak occurs, food scientists investigate and find the source of the outbreak. She studies aspects of preservation. For example, she may research whether irradiation can affect bacteria levels in food, such as beef. She also may create substitutes for certain ingredients, such as nitrates.
According to CollegeBoard.com, you will need a master's degree or Ph.D. to qualify for most research positions. Depending on their specialty, students may study areas, such as food science, nutrition, genetics or biotechnology.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) May 2008 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey Program, food scientists and technologists earned a national average salary of $64,610. The median salary ranged from below $33,790 to above $104,520.
Employment & Environment
According to the BLS May 2008 OES Survey Program, scientific research and development services employed the highest number of food scientists and technologists. This industry offered an average salary of $73,370. The Executive Branch of the federal government offered the highest pay out of all the industries with an average salary of $87,570. The District of Columbia offered the highest pay out of all regions with an average salary of $96,110.
A food scientist works in offices and laboratories, according to the BLS. Work environment for scientists in applied research depends on the employer's specialty. For example, a food scientist in the private industry may work inside test kitchens.
According to the BLS, employment for agricultural and food scientists is expected to grow faster than average at a rate of 16 percent through 2018.