Food Scientists

Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources > Food Products and Processing Systems

Projected Growth: Average

Projected Job Openings

Considerable Preparation Needed

Job Description

Your job is to 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.

Common job titles of Food Scientists include:

Experience and Education

A considerable amount of work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is needed for this occupation. For example, a person in this occupation must complete four years of college and work for several years in industry to be considered qualified.

  • 69.23% said they needed a Bachelor's Degree.

  • 19.23% said they needed a Master's Degree.


    Check raw ingredients for maturity or stability for processing, and finished products for safety, quality, and nutritional value.

    Test new products for flavor, texture, color, nutritional content, and adherence to government and industry standards.

    Inspect food processing areas to ensure compliance with government regulations and standards for sanitation, safety, quality, and waste management.

    Stay up to date on new regulations and current events regarding food science by reviewing scientific literature.

    Confer with process engineers, plant operators, flavor experts, and packaging and marketing specialists to resolve problems in product development.

    Seek substitutes for harmful or undesirable additives, such as nitrites.

    Study the structure and composition of food or the changes foods undergo in storage and processing.

    Study methods to improve aspects of foods, such as chemical composition, flavor, color, texture, nutritional value, and convenience.

    Evaluate food processing and storage operations and assist in the development of quality assurance programs for such operations.

    Develop new food items for production, based on consumer feedback.

    Demonstrate products to clients.

    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.


X ray crystallography equipment

Water activity meters


Vacuum packagers

Ultraviolet UV spectrometers

Tubular heat exchangers

Torsion gelometers

All Tools

Thermal processing equipment

Thermal gravimetric analyzers

Thermal cyclers


Strain testers


Steam kettles

Steam blanchers

Steam autoclaves

Spiral platers


Specific gravity fat analyzers

Scanning plate readers

Scanning electron microscopes SEM

Rotary evaporators

Roasting equipment


Retort sterilization equipment

Refrigerated benchtop centrifuges

Reflectance spectrometers



Pulper finishers

Programmable incubators

Plate heat exchangers

Piston filling machines

Phase contrast microscopes

pH indicators

Personal computers

Oxygen analyzers

Orbital shaking water baths

Nitrogen analyzers

Muffle furnaces


Microbial monitoring systems

Micro kjeldahls

Membrane filtration systems

Melting point apparatus

Meat saws

Meat grinders

Mass spectrometers

Macro kjeldahls

Laser colony counters

Laptop computers

Laboratory water baths

Laboratory ovens

Laboratory mills

Laboratory mechanical convection ovens

Laboratory lasers

Jet cooking systems

Ion chromatographs

Infrared IR spectrometers

Induction cooktops

Ice cream freezers


High speed refrigerated centrifuges

High pressure liquid chromatograph HPLC equipment

Heat exchangers



Glucose analyzers

Gel electrophoresis equipment

Gas chromatographs GC

Fruit presses

Freeze drying equipment

Fraction collectors

Fourier transform infrared FTIR spectrometers

Food slicers

Food mixers

Food dehydrators

Food crushers

Food choppers

Fermenting tanks


Epifluorescence microscopes


Electronic laboratory balances

Dynamic mechanical analyzers DMA

Dynamic light scattering equipment

Drum dryers

Digital oscilloscopes

Differential refractometers

Desktop computers


Dehydration equipment

Darkfield microscopes

Coulter counters

Conductivity meters

Computerized calorimeters

Commercial microwave ovens


Color difference meters

Carbon dioxide CO2 laboratory incubators

Blast freezers


Biological safety cabinets

Benchtop nephelometers

Batch fryers

Bacterial identification systems


Automatic diluters

Atomic absorption AA spectrometers

Analytical balances

Anaerobic growth chambers


Amino acid analyzers

Air sampling systems


BioDiscovery ImaGene

Image analysis software

Insightful S-PLUS

MDS Analytical Technologies GenePix Pro


Sensory Computer Systems SIMS


All Technologies

U.S. Department of Agriculture USDA National Nutrient Database


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.

Reading Comprehension

Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.


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


Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Active Learning

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

Critical Thinking

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


Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.

Complex Problem Solving

Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.

Judgment and Decision Making

Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.


Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.

Quality Control Analysis

Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.

Systems Analysis

Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.

Social Perceptiveness

Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.


Teaching others how to do something.

Time Management

Managing one's own time and the time of others.


Using mathematics to solve problems.


Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.


Persuading others to change their minds or behavior.


Bringing others together and trying to reconcile differences.

Systems Evaluation

Identifying measures or indicators of system performance and the actions needed to improve or correct performance, relative to the goals of the system.

Management of Personnel Resources

Motivating, developing, and directing people as they work, identifying the best people for the job.

Learning Strategies

Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.


Listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.

Cognitive Abilities › Verbal Abilities › Oral Comprehension

Read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.

Cognitive Abilities › Verbal Abilities › Written Comprehension

Tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.

Cognitive Abilities › Idea Generation and Reasoning Abilities › Problem Sensitivity

Combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).

Cognitive Abilities › Idea Generation and Reasoning Abilities › Inductive Reasoning

Communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.

Cognitive Abilities › Verbal Abilities › Oral Expression

Apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.

Cognitive Abilities › Idea Generation and Reasoning Abilities › Deductive Reasoning

Generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.

Cognitive Abilities › Idea Generation and Reasoning Abilities › Category Flexibility

Communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.

Cognitive Abilities › Verbal Abilities › Written Expression

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