Food Technologist Kaihangarau Kai

Food technologists research, develop and improve food and drink products. They may also be involved in the processing, packaging, storage and safety of food to meet government and industry standards.

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Food technologists may do some or all of the following:

  • develop new or improve current food and drinks
  • make test samples of food products and conduct trials
  • source and select ingredients for food products
  • manage or supervise development and production of food and drinks
  • improve efficiency of manufacturing processes
  • develop new or improve current food packaging
  • ensure food products meet specifications and standards (quality assurance)
  • investigate the nutritional properties of foods.

Physical Requirements

Food technologists need to have good hand-eye co-ordination.

Useful Experience

Useful experience for food technologists includes:

  • food processing or production
  • laboratory work
  • quality assurance
  • business management or marketing.

Personal Qualities

Food technologists need to be:

  • accurate
  • patient and persistent
  • able to work well under pressure
  • good at problem solving
  • good at planning and organising.

Skills

Food technologists need to have knowledge of:

  • food and drink products
  • food processing and production methods
  • food hygiene and quality standards
  • how to analyse and interpret research results
  • how to perform experiments and operate scientific equipment
  • how to write reports
  • maths and computer skills.

Conditions

Food technologists:

  • usually work regular business hours, but may need to run factory trials at night or on weekends
  • usually work in laboratories, offices or factories
  • may travel overseas to clients' companies or factories, and attend local or international conferences and trade shows.

Subject Recommendations

A tertiary entrance qualification is required to enter further training. Useful subjects include home economics, maths, physics, chemistry and biology. 

Food Technologists can earn around $50K-$75K per year.

Chances of getting a job as a Food Technologist are good due to a shortage of people interested in this type of work.

Pay for food technologists varies depending on skills and experience.

  • Graduate food technologists usually earn $50,000 to $60,000 a year.
  • Food technologists with two to four years' experience usually earn $60,000 to $75,000. 
  • Senior food technologists with five or more years' experience can earn $75,000 to $100,000. 

Sources: New Zealand Institute of Food Science Technology, 2019; and Lawson Williams Consulting Group, 2019.

Food technologists may move into senior roles such as senior food technologist, senior research technologist or technical manager. 

They may progress to jobs in areas such as:

  • marketing and sales
  • food safety authority
  • university lecturers

Food technologists may specialise in:

  • packaging
  • product development
  • production
  • quality assurance
  • policy and standards
  • technical sales
  • research and development.

Years Of Training

3-5 years of training required.

To become a food technologist most employers require you to have a Bachelor's degree in food technology, food science or food engineering. A Master's degree is preferred.

Food technologists often complete on-the-job training programmes for specific products and processes.

Food Technologist