Economy Keeps Food Science Salaries Flat for 2011—Results from the 2011 IFT Employment and Salary Survey

February 16, 2012

CHICAGO—Due to the recessionary climate, the median salary for food scientists polled by the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) slightly dropped 0.8 percent over the past two years, according to the recently released IFT Employment and Salary Survey.

With the U.S. economy waning since the recession began in December 2007, and the national unemployment level hovering close to 9 percent for much of 2011 (USBLS, 2012), the median salary for food scientists slightly dropped to $87,000 from $87,700 in 2009. According to food science recruiters interviewed for the February Food Technology magazine article that accompanied the release of survey findings in the publication, some companies are making lower offers because of people being unemployed, which may affect the overall average.

This survey is conducted every two years and is sent to IFT members in the United States. Over 1,900 members responded to the survey.

Highlights from the survey include:

  • After being asked how the economic climate has affected their workplace, 31 percent of the respondents cited a hiring freeze, 30 percent a staff reduction, and 20 percent a salary freeze.
  • More than eight out of 10 (84 percent) said they are either mostly satisfied (57 percent) or highly satisfied (27 percent) with their jobs.
  • Almost three-quarters of respondents (73 percent) characterized their jobs as stressful (37 percent) or moderately stressful (36 percent), and another 11 percent said their jobs were highly stressful.
  • In terms of hours worked during an average week, 35 percent reported working 41-50 hours weekly, followed by 25 percent who work an average of 46-50 hours weekly. In addition, 19 percent said they work more than 50 hours a week.

To read the full results of the IFT Employment and Salary Survey: visit

The Economy's Effect on Employment

Gauging Job Satisfaction


About IFT
The Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) is a nonprofit scientific society. Our individual members are professionals engaged in food science, food technology, and related professions in industry, academia, and government. IFT's mission is to advance the science of food, and our long-range vision is to ensure a safe and abundant food supply, contributing to healthier people everywhere.

For more than 70 years, the IFT has been unlocking the potential of the food science community by creating a dynamic global forum where members from more than 100 countries can share, learn, and grow. We champion the use of sound science across the food value chain through the exchange of knowledge, by providing education, and by furthering the advancement of the profession. IFT has offices in Chicago, Illinois and Washington, D.C. For more information, please visit

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