Being paid to perfect snacks sounds like a job that’s far too good to be true, but for a certain lucky few, it’s actually a reality.
Food scientists work to develop new food products before they hit the consumer shelf. Basically, they work to make sure the foods we eat are as nutritionally balanced as possible, safe to consume and attractive to purchase. This could mean making it healthier, making it more accessible to demographics or making nutritional intake more attractive to people that struggle to eat their recommended daily dose of fruit and vegetables.
When defining food science, we can break the definition down into two parts. First, it involves the study of the physical, biological, and chemical composition or makeup of different foods and how these affect the human body; and second, it involves all of the underlying concepts of food processing. This is how food design and packaging work together.
The overall goal of a food and nutritional scientist is to improve food production for society.
Say you want society to eat more fruit
A food and nutritional scientist could work to develop a process or technology that enables a higher percentage of fruit, and a lower percentage of imitation flavour to be included in a fruit bar.
Say you want society to consume healthier fats
Food and nutrition scientists at Nestle invented technologies that allow us to use natural vegetable oils instead of partially hydrogenated fats in stocks and seasonings. They also developed a way to insert more complex carbohydrates in Milo!
Or say you want society to absorb more Vitamin D
There are a group of food and nutritional scientists in California working on a growing process that ups the vitamin D content of fungi sold in grocery stores.
One of the things food and nutritional scientists like most about their job is the ability to take food and nutrition research and develop a product into commercialisation. This means that they get to work across a project from initial ‘problem’ right through to when a product is on the shelf!
Where do Food and Nutritional Scientists Work?
We had a little Google of current ‘Food Scientist’ jobs that are up for grabs and big names like CocaCola, Sanitarium, CSR Sugar, Arnotts and Bulla popped up in seconds.
Opportunities in the commercial food industry is ripe for nutrition-focused students right now. (Commercial is referring those big-name companies like CocaCola). The tastes and needs of society are constantly evolving and so the demand for those with food and nutritional science knowledge is growing.
We recommend that students interested in pursuing food and nutritional science study a combined Bachelor of Food Science &Human Nutrition/Bachelor of Business (BFSHN/BBus) degree so that they can match their nutrition and health science skills with business skills. The synergy between the degrees will see students stand out from the crowd when applying for stand out companies.
Nutrition and health is all about creating solutions to problems. To get ahead in the nutrition industry you need to understand how to get your solutions to the people that need them.
By combining this as a double degree in Bachelor of Food Science and Human Nutrition/Bachelor of Business, students can benefit from the scientific knowledge behind food as well as being able to understand the business needs for the commercial food industry. This is answering questions like, “how does this nutritional insight help to drive sales for the company?” or, “what do my consumers actually want?”
Without a sound business understanding of the food industry the work of a food and nutritional scientist could be wasted.
Having an interest in health and food is the perfect start, but getting a university degree in food science and human nutrition is essential to being the best in the industry. Then the secret to landing a dream job with a big food corporation like Sanitarium is to graduate with a dual business and food science degree.
Weighing up a degree in nutrition? (2017). [Blog] The Footnotes. Available at: http://thefootnotes.com.au/food-nutritional-science/ [Accessed 1 March 2018]