I mentioned my occupation on the ‘About Me’ page, but it’s not something thats clear cut like ‘Real Estate Agent’ or ‘Nurse’, so I’ll fill you in 🙂
A Food Scientist understands the way foods work in the human body, but not to the same degree as a dietician, we also understand manufacturing processes, a bit like an engineer, but we are different to both these roles. Basically Food Scientists study the way food works, when ingredients are combined, what happens? We often have a background in chemistry or microbiology, then our expertise develops based on the roles we assume within industry.
In Australia, Food Scientists generally work for government departments, food retailers (supermarkets) and the bigger manufacturers, in product development, regulation and marketing. We can be lab based, working on product formulations, or never don a lab coat and deal entirely in product labels or consultancy, depending on experience. When a new food product is launched, a Food Scientist will have been involved in many ways, from developing the initial formulation, running tasting panels, approving label designs and building a marketing strategy.
I have worked in both the manufacturing side (chocolate factory – nothing like Willy Wonka) and for a food retailer as a private label product compliance consultant. The most interesting thing about the job, to me, is the variety and the opportunity to be part of something bigger. Everyone eats and in today’s culture, most people have an interest in food, how its made and where it comes from, so its cool to be a part of all that!