What does a Food Technologist do? Food Technologists research, develop and oversee the production of food stuffs. They study the physical, chemical and biological properties of food and help to improve the products in any way, from the nutritional value to the shelf-life. They ensure food products are produced safely, legally and are of the claimed quality, ensuring that they are abiding by a constantly updated, strict regulatory framework They may also work on existing or newly discovered ingredients and technologies to invent new recipes and concepts, as well as modifying foods to create, for example, fat-free products and ready meals. They often work closely with the product development teams to help deliver factory-ready recipes based on the development kitchen samples.
Why does a Food Technologist do this? Food Technologists are responsible for the safety and quality of products that thousands of people could eat every day. This is a big responsibility, especially with the increasing prevalence of specific dietary requirements. Food Technologists also source ingredients for products, as well as finding the best way to combine, process, store and preserve food in order to maintain taste and nutritional value.
How does a Food Technologist do their job? Food Technologists use a variety of laboratory and scientific research equipment, such as tensile and compressive testing systems, texture analysers, tenderometers, as well as probes and fixtures. They can also use standard kitchen appliances such as refrigerators, blenders and ovens. They may use packaging and processing machinery, computers and specialised software, and safety and hygiene equipment.
Where do Food Technologists do their job? Food Technologists mostly work for food manufacturing organisations and, depending on their specific role, may work in laboratories, offices or factories. Depending on the role, they could be spending a lot of time out of the lab performing independent testing at the source of the food preparation. They may be required to work in premises where food and food products are actually kept, which must be clean, sterile and well-lit. They usually work regular hours but may be expected to work longer hours to meet deadlines. They may occasionally be required to run laboratory tests at off-peak times, such as nights or weekends. They may also be required to travel in order to sample produce or to attend conferences.
Minimum degree required A Bachelor of Science with a major in an appropriate area, such as:
Average salary per year The expected salary for a Food Technologist is $78 884 excluding superannuation.
Job outlook Over the five years to November 2017, the number of job openings for Food and Wine Scientists is expected to be low.