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How to Become a Food Scientist?

For a person to become a food scientist, firstly it’s important to know, what does a food scientist do?

The role of a food scientist is to research, develop and test different ingredients and foods, making sure they are safe for humans to consume. They use their knowledge of life and physical sciences to create new technologies and methods of food production, processing, and packaging. They also implement regulatory aspects, so that finished product meet the standards of quality and safety as per the food laws and regulations of that country. They use scientific techniques to specify accurate nutritional information for food labelling; research new methods to keep food fresh and safe for a longer duration; work on processing methodologies to reduce time and cost while maintaining nutrients and quality; ensure that the food is safe and does not have any risk of contamination.

In private sector, most food scientists work in the R&D departments of food processing companies. Many work in processing plants as quality control inspectors or production supervisors. Some are involved in teaching and research in universities. Others work in sales or advertising of food products and technologies.

Requirements for Becoming a Food Scientist:

  • Knowledge of analytical methods and instruments.
  • One should have expertise in food chemistry and food microbiology.
  • Skills like good communication, critical thinking, observation, data analysis, decision-making, and mathematics.
  • A post-graduate degree in food science or a related subject is highly desirable.
  • People with Ph.D. degree are often hired for higher positions.

Step by Step Guide to Become a Food Scientist

Step 1:

Complete a Bachelor’s Degree Program :- If one has an aim to become a food scientist, they at least need a bachelor’s degree in an area such as food science, chemistry, microbiology, or a related field. The undergraduate programme in India is a 3-year B.Sc- Food Science and Technology program or a 4-year B. Tech. program in Food Technology. These courses impart students with fundamental principles in food science as well as research techniques. Subjects like human nutrition, food chemistry, food microbiology, food processing, food quality etc.

Step 2:

Earn an Advanced Degree :- An advanced degree, such as a Master of Science or Ph.D. in Food Science is required for food scientist position in various government laboratories, authorities like BIS and FSSAI, or university research posts like CFTRI, ICAR, DFRL etc. A graduate in Food Science can opt for a specialization in food chemistry, manufacturing processes, or engineering for master’s degree. Master program is of 2 years which includes research/ project work with thesis on a topic in food science, nutrition, or biochemistry. Ph.D. programs may take 3-4 years, with intense research work and thesis and research publications on any current/ upcoming technology, product or packaging, bio-chemistry or nutrition.

Step 3:

Attend workshops/certification programs:- One can always earn better opportunities by upgrading the knowledge with various short-term workshops or certification courses like ISO, HACCP, regulatory, or recent technologies by various universities or government authorities. Certification is based on successfully completing a qualifying exam. Interested individuals can also take advantage of online study.

Job opportunities of Food Scientist

  • Research and development departments of all food companies like Nestle, Britannia, Cadbury, Pepsico etc.
  • All government universities under ICAR, CSIR, CFTRI etc. as research scientists.
  • Government Regulatory bodies like BIS, FSSAI, FFRC,DFRL, WHO, NIN, ICMR etc.
  • All government and private universities as professors, involved in teaching as well as research.
  • One can apply for research projects independently, for which government provide proper funding.
  • Research project collaborations can be done with foreign universities also.

Salary of Food Scientist 

Starting salary after a master’s degree maybe around 40-60,000 per month which may gradually increase with experience up to 1-2 lakhs per month.

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