What Is a Food Technologist?

Research what it takes to become a food technologist. Learn about typical job duties, degree program options and employment possibilities to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Art of Cooking degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Does a Food Technologist Do?

Food technologists study food sources and find innovative ways to create nutritious processed food. They are also responsible for making sure our food is safe and accurately labeled. They do these tasks by using various sciences, such as chemistry, to study and keep note of the nutritional value of foods. In addition, they are also responsible for researching better ways to preserve and package foods for distribution and consumption. The following chart gives an overview of this job.

Degree Required Bachelor's
Education Field of Study Food science and technology
Key Responsibilities Food research and development, quality control, market research, food safety
Job Growth (2018-28) 5%*
Median Salary (May 2018) $65,300*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

What Is Food Technology?

Food technology is similar to food science. Often, colleges combine food science and food technology into one degree program. Food science encompasses engineering, the physical sciences and biology to examine food, its deterioration and the processing methods used. Food technology is the study of food industry issues and the research and solutions to these issues. You'll learn how to apply solutions to properly create and preserve food.

What Do Food Technologists Do?

As a food technologist, or a food scientist, you'll research and develop foods that are safer and healthier for consumption. You'll create the different kinds of food products that appear on the shelves for consumers. Food technologists work in all aspects of the food industry and with all different kinds of food, including fresh foods and packaged foods. You may also enter a supervisory position, managing production and quality control.

Besides keeping quality control on food, you'll work as a food scientist developing new foods, flavors and colors. You may design processes for food production in large amounts while maintaining texture and flavor. You may also survey consumers or look into markets to discover trends or new foods. You'll ensure the safety and hygiene of food production. You may also be in charge of tasting finished products to guarantee consistency.

What Can I Study?

Available food technology programs award bachelor's, master's and doctorate degrees. Principles of management, science and marketing are blended into one field of study that focuses on food values. You'll study food preservation, chemistry, nutrition, food processes, fermentation and flavor chemistry.

While you may not study the marketing design aspects of packaging, you'll study different forms of packaging that will preserve food and improve food quality. You'll also learn state and federal regulations regarding food and packaging. Doctorate programs are heavy in research methodology courses, preparing you to research and hypothesize solutions to packaging and preservation problems. Food communication courses teach you how to promote new products through media outlets, while food distribution courses cover preservation during transportation and distribution to stores.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

If you are interested in the food industry but don't want to earn a bachelor's degree, becoming an agricultural and food science technician may be of interest. These professionals act as assistants to food scientists and technologists, and the position requires an associate's degree. An option outside of the food industry could entail becoming a biological technician, which requires a bachelor's degree. These technicians assist medical scientists with lab tests and experiments. Another option would be becoming a microbiologist, which is similar to being a food technologist, as it deals with studying microorganisms to understand how they thrive, as well as ways to minimize the spread of certain germs in particular environments. A bachelor's degree is the entry-level requirement for this position.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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