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Food Scientist, Chefs Jobs & Catering Jobs

 
Food scientists and technologists make sure that our food is of good quality and safe to eat.
Food scientists investigate ways of keeping food fresh and attractive, and check the quality of both raw materials and food products.
Food technologists are concerned with converting raw foodstuffs into food products. This could involve creating recipes using new ingredients, devising healthier versions of popular foods such as low fat or low salt alternatives, or working on developing new products and processes.
Food scientists and technologists usually work between 35 and 40 hours a week. Shift work and weekend work may be required. Food scientists may work in laboratories, research units or quality control departments. Food technologists usually work in factories. Some jobs may involve travelling in the UK and abroad.

Salaries may range from �25,000 to over �65,000 a year.

Food scientists and technologists should:

be good at biology and chemistry, with ability in physics and maths
be logical, with good problem-solving skills
have high standards of cleanliness
be interested in food and the way it is produced.
Between 8,000 and 10,000 people work as food scientists and technologists. Employers are based all over the UK and include food manufacturers, retailers, supermarket chains, local and national government, universities and research and development organisations.

Most food scientists and technologists have a degree or an HNC/HND in a subject like food sciences, food studies or food technology. Biology, microbiology, biochemistry, biotechnology and chemistry are also acceptable. Some entrants have a postgraduate diploma or an MSc in food sciences. It is also possible to enter these careers as a laboratory assistant or technician and progress through further experience, training and qualifications. Apprenticeships may be available.

It is important for food scientists and technologists to keep their knowledge and skills up to date through Continuing Professional Development (CPD). The Institute of Food Science and Technology offers a CPD scheme to its members.

In larger organisations there may be opportunities for promotion to positions like team leader, project co-ordinator, manager and technical director. It is also possible to specialise or to move into related areas such as buying raw materials, marketing, technical sales or production management. People working for smaller organisations may have to change employers to gain promotion. There may be opportunities to work abroad.

What is the work like?
As people become more concerned about healthy diet, food scientists and technologists play an increasingly important part in ensuring the quality and safety of our food. Although food scientists and food technologists have separate roles, their duties often overlap.

Food scientists are involved in many areas including researching food safety. They use their knowledge of the way food behaves under certain conditions (for example freezing) to devise ways of keeping food fresh, safe to eat and attractive. They may be involved in quality assurance, checking the quality of both raw materials and food products. Their work could involve minimising the risks of food contamination by ensuring that food safety systems, such as Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP), are in place.

The work of food technologists usually involves converting raw foodstuffs into food products. They could be employed to create recipes using new ingredients or to devise healthier versions of popular foods, such as low fat or low salt alternatives. Some food technologists are involved in developing new products and processes. This could involve designing machinery and packaging.

Food science and food technology use a range of scientific disciplines including IT, biology, chemistry, physics, biochemistry, microbiology, genetics, biotechnology, enzymology and nutrition. The work may also involve chemical engineering, toxicology, statistics, production planning, supply chain management, marketing, consumer research and financial management.

Food scientists and technologists use specialist equipment ranging from computers and laboratory equipment to processing and production machinery. They work closely with colleagues in retailing, commercial sales, production and finance, as well as with suppliers and customers. They are often involved in production and process management and general management.

Salaries start at around �25,000.

Hours and environment
Food scientists and technologists usually work between 35 and 40 hours a week. Many employers operate a shift system which may involve weekend working.

Food scientists often work in laboratories, research units or in the quality control departments of food manufacturing and processing factories. Food technologists usually work in factories, ensuring that production processes and machinery run smoothly and efficiently. Working conditions vary from job to job, but the environment must be scrupulously clean to avoid contamination of the food. Protective clothing is often worn.

Some jobs may involve travelling to warehouses, distribution centres, suppliers' factories and sometimes to suppliers who are based abroad.

Salary and other benefits
These figures are only a guide, as actual rates of pay may vary, depending on the employer and where people live.

Salaries may start at around �25,000 a year.
With more experience this could rise to �35,000.
Those in senior management positions could earn over �65,000.
Skills and personal qualities
Food scientists and technologists should:

be good at biology and chemistry
have some ability in physics and maths
be logical, with good problem-solving skills
have high standards of cleanliness and be able to follow strict hygiene and health and safety rules
pay attention to detail
have excellent communication skills to explain ideas to colleagues with varying levels of scientific and technical knowledge
be good at teamwork
be well organised and able to prioritise a range of different tasks.
Interests
It is important to be interested in:

food and the way it is produced
people's concerns about food
the sort of food people want to eat.
Getting in
Between 8,000 and 10,000 people work as food scientists and technologists. Over recent years there has been a decline in the number of people graduating from food science and food technology degree courses and the industry is keen to encourage more young people to consider these careers.

There are opportunities throughout the UK. Employers include food manufacturers, retailers, supermarket chains, local and national government, universities and research and development organisations.

Vacancies are advertised in local and national newspapers, on the websites of food manufacturers, retailers and recruitment consultancies, and in specialist magazines such as New Scientist and Food Manufacture.

Entry for young people

Most food scientists and technologists have a degree or an HNC/HND. Relevant subjects include food sciences, food studies and food technology. Other science subjects are acceptable, including biology, microbiology, biochemistry, biotechnology or chemistry. There are also specialist courses in areas like baking or meat technology.

For a degree course, candidates usually need at least two A levels/three H grades, often including chemistry or biology, and five GCSEs/S grades (A-C/1-3), or equivalent qualifications. For an HNC/HND course, they usually need at least one A level/two H grades and three GCSEs/S grades (A-C/1-3), or equivalent qualifications. Candidates are advised to check exact requirements with individual institutions.

There are also Foundation degrees in subjects like food management and food safety.

Some food scientists and technologists have a postgraduate diploma or an MSc in food sciences. A postgraduate course normally requires a good first degree in a relevant subject.

Some begin their careers as laboratory assistants or technicians. Employers usually look for candidates with at least four GCSEs/S grades (A-C/1-3) or equivalent qualifications, usually including English, maths, biology and chemistry (or a double award in science). With further experience, training and qualifications it may be possible to gain promotion to food scientist or technologist positions.

It may be possible to enter this career through an Apprenticeship.

Apprenticeships which may be available in England are Young Apprenticeships, Pre-Apprenticeships, Apprenticeships and Advanced Apprenticeships. To find out which one is most appropriate log onto www.apprenticeships.org.uk or contact your local Connexions Partnership.

It is important to bear in mind that pay rates for Apprenticeships do vary from area to area and between industry sectors.

There are different arrangements for Apprenticeships in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. For further information contact Careers Scotland www.careers-scotland.org.uk, Careers Wales www.careerswales.com; and for Northern Ireland contact COIU www.delni.gov.uk.

Entry for adults

Universities may lower their normal entry requirements for suitable candidates.

Access courses may be available for adults without the necessary qualifications to enter higher education.

Training
Ongoing research into food and health and the introduction of new ideas, ingredients and technology mean that it is essential for food scientists and technologists to keep their knowledge and skills up to date. The Institute of Food Science and Technology (IFST) offers a Continuing Professional Development (CPD) scheme for its members.

Getting on
Food scientists and technologists working in larger organisations may have opportunities for promotion to positions like team leader, project co-ordinator, manager and technical director.

There may be opportunities to specialise or to move into related areas such as buying raw materials, marketing, technical sales or production management.

People working for smaller organisations may have to change employers to improve their promotion prospects.
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+ChefsWorld Tim Capper  
Tags: Food Scientist , Molecular Gastronomy
 


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