Job type

Food scientist

£20k - £45k

Typical salary

39 – 41

Hours per week

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

More info

  • Work with food to develop and test new products for companies, or work in research or testing for universities or the government
  • Combine a love for food with a specialist technical and scientific role
  • Opportunities to progress into senior roles such as project leader, or manage a department like research and development


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 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'll need

To be a food scientist, you'll need knowledge of chemistry including the safe use and disposal of chemicals, knowledge of manufacturing and food production and processes, maths and biology knowledge, thoroughness and attention to detail, analytical thinking skills, and excellent verbal communication skills.

You'll usually need a foundation degree, higher national diploma, or degree in a subject like food science, food studies, or food technology. If you have a degree in an unrelated subject, you could study a postgraduate course like food safety or food quality management.

You could get this job through a food technologist advanced apprenticeship, followed by a food industry technical professional degree apprenticeship.

Another way in is to start out as a food technician or lab assistant with a food manufacturer and study towards qualifications while you work.


You could progress to working for a range of organisations involved in researching and developing new products, including food manufacturers and supermarkets, government and university research establishments, or 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.