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Food scientists work with many aspects of the food industry. They may search for better ingredients, formulations or cooking methods to improve the composition or cooking process of various food products. They may also study packaging and preservation to ensure that pre-made foods retain their flavor and produce is delivered fresh and undamaged.
Food scientists need to have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, typically in agricultural science. This course of study focuses on biology, food and organic chemistry, food engineering, plant science and food engineering. Laboratory research projects and fieldwork are necessary to complete this degree. For additional career opportunities, such as the opportunity to do research at the university level, a Ph.D. is usually required. Students should have an aptitude for math and science to do well in this field.
Food science requires both a deep understanding of scientific principles and ample creativity. In this competitive field where popular brands are always vying for the customer’s attention and loyalty, food scientists may need to develop the cutting edge technologies that will keep their company at the head of the race. An interest in food science, cooking, baking, nutrition and other aspects of food preparation and preservation will help individuals stay engaged and excited in this field.
Food scientists often work in group settings such as test kitchens. Strong communication skills are vital to completing research projects. The ability to work closely with others and collaborate for a common goal is important. For food scientists who work alone on smaller projects, the ability to communicate clearly through written reports will be important in adequately sharing their findings.
The main objective of a food scientist is to complete research in various areas of food science. To effectively complete these studies, the individual should have great attention to detail, as well as the ability to patiently take many small measurements and record them accurately. Strong computer skills and an aptitude for working with new technology are essential too, for recording, sharing, developing and improving innovative food preparation techniques.
Mandi Rogier is a freelance writer who enjoys writing about a wide range of topics. As a previous employee of Walt Disney World, she enjoys writing travel articles that make use of her extensive knowledge of Orlando theme parks.