What Does a Food Scientist Do? (And How To Become One)

A food scientist studies the deterioration and processing of foods by using microbiology, engineering, and chemistry. They determine nutrient levels of food by analyzing its content. They look for new nutritional food sources and investigate avenues for making processed foods taste good, safe, and healthy. They also find the best way to distribute, process, preserve and package the food.

Food scientists and technologists use chemistry, biology, and other sciences to study the basic elements of food. They analyze the nutritional content of food, discover new food sources, and research ways to make processed foods safe and healthy.

What Does a Food Scientist Do? | Farmweek | March 30, 2017

Food scientist average salary

Becoming a food scientist requires the completion of certain education and training requirements. These include:


A minimum of a bachelors degree is a requirement to work as a food scientist, but most employers prefer a masters degree or Ph.D. You can expect to take a variety of science and engineering courses at both levels. Coursework might include food processing, food law and regulations and food analysis. Aspiring food scientists will need an educational background in nutrition, food safety and processing.


Most training will occur while working towards your degree, usually in the form of an internship. An internship may be required at the bachelors degree level, but some type of hands-on experience is almost always included in a masters or Ph.D. program. Because food scientists are involved in most aspects of food development, including chemistry and engineering, training in both areas can be helpful.

Food scientists will earn more hands-on experience in an entry-level position, during which they may choose to complete certifications. After developing experience, they may work toward a senior food science position.


Certifications and licensing will vary from state to state. While they may not be a requirement to work as a food scientist, getting certifications can help with promotions. Food scientist certifications may be available through the American Society of Agronomy and the American Registry of Professional Animal Scientists. Most certifications require that you work a certain number of hours in the field and then complete an exam.

Additionally, most certifications also require that you maintain it through continuing education.

What is a food scientist?

Food scientists work in agricultural environments and laboratories, monitoring safety and improving the supply of certain foods. Food scientists may be involved in the preparation, farming, improvement and evaluation of food sources.

The responsibilities of a food scientist might include:


Certain skills can help a food scientist do well in their position:

Food scientist work environment

The work environment of a food scientist will vary, depending on where you work and in what capacity. Food scientists can specialize, which allows them to work in a specific industry. A few available specializations include animal, technology, plants and soil.

Some food scientists may work in a lab, designing and conducting experiments, whereas others spend the majority of their time in the field, improving soil and animal processes. Some food scientists may also work in a government position, where they are involved in evaluating and updating policies and communicating with the public. Others may work in a research position, primarily conducting experiments on the sustainability and health of foods.

Some amount of travel is usually required when working as a food scientist. While travel may be limited to the farms and production facilities in your home city, government scientists may need to travel nationally or internationally. Food scientists may work with the U.S. government, in a research facility or in higher education, teaching students.

How to become a food scientist

You can become a food scientist with the following steps:

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.


Do food scientists make food?

Food Science Careers

Food scientists sometimes specialize in improving or making new food products, but they can also focus on ensuring the consistency, quality and safety of foods.

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