Food Application Technologist: Job Description, Duties and Salary

Sep 26, 2019

A food application technologist is a food scientist dedicated to the improvement of food quality. While earning a bachelor's degree in agricultural science may be enough to break into the field, most food application technologists hold a master's degree.

Essential Information

Food application technologists, also known as food scientists or technologists, work to improve the quality of food. They apply a variety of learned sciences in their jobs, such as chemistry, biology, and engineering. A bachelor's degree in agricultural science is typically required, although most go on to receive their master's degree in nutrition or dietetics.

Required Education Bachelor's degree; most go on to receive their master's degrees
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028) 5% (for food scientists and technologists)*
Median Annual Salary (2018) $65,300 (for food scientists and technologists)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Food Application Technologist Job Description

The main goal of a food application technologist is to ensure that the food supply is safe for consumption. These scientists apply a number of sciences such as microbiology and chemistry into their work.

By working to develop new products, a food application technologist may have a number of specialties and work in a variety of areas. For example, in the private industry, these scientists might work in test kitchens and investigate new ways to process food.

Others use the food science knowledge they have gained to discover new ways to improve how food is selected, preserved, packaged, and distributed. Some focus on analyzing the content of the food, determining appropriate levels of protein, fat, sugar, or vitamins. Responsibilities also include uncovering new sources of food or improving the flavor and palatability of how foods tastes.

Food Application Technologist Job Duties

Food application technologists must balance a variety of job duties in their daily work. They can monitor an assembly line or conduct experiments in laboratories. Opportunities may also be available to develop new approaches for food preserving and processing. This may include everything from the way food is packaged and stored to the way that it is delivered. For instance, while evaluating food processing and storage operations, they may set up quality assurance programs to ensure that regulations are met and standards of quality are being upheld.

Food application technologists regularly work with others to develop new products. Technologists may work with plant operators, flavor experts, marketing specialists, and process engineers. It is also necessary for them to uphold the quality standards of food and processing set forth by the government.

As part of their research, they study the chemistry of the human body when food is consumed. By receiving and using consumer feedback, they determine food safety and develop new products.

Food Application Technologist Salary Information

By working in a number of different possible capacities, food scientists have a variety of career opportunities available to them. Many can work for government organizations like the Food and Drug Administration or U.S. Department of Agriculture. Others work in private labs doing research or consulting. The food industry presents career avenues in product development, food processing, marketing, and quality control, among others.

In May 2018, the BLS reported that workers in the 90th percentile or higher earned $118,630 or more per year, whereas the bottom 10th percentile earned $39,510 or less per year. Between 2018 and 2028, the number of jobs for food scientists and technologists was expected to increase as fast as the average for all careers.

Food application technologists must be well-rounded in the sciences, possessing strong knowledge of chemistry, biology, and microbiology. The ability to work as part of an interdepartmental team is vital for success in this role, as many food application technologists are required to work alongside marketing professionals, engineers, and factory managers. These professionals must also adhere to all food quality regulations set out by the government.

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