Career in Food

Careers in the Science of Food

Find exciting opportunities in consumer research, teaching, regulatory affairs, basic research, and nutrition whether you choose to pursue work in industry, academia, or nonprofit and government institutions.

What Does It Mean to Work in Food Science?

It’s a field that includes chemistry, biochemistry, microbiology, physics, engineering, nutrition, biology, math, and other disciplines.


Food Quality & Microbiology

Food microbiologists play a critical role in making sure food is safe to consume. They have expertise in a variety of scientific disciplines.
Food Engineering

Food Engineering

Food engineers design and develop systems for processing, storing, packaging, and handling food.
Food Research

Product Development

Developers, working as part of a team, continually strive to create high quality, nutritious products that taste good and are affordable for consumers.
Food Chemistry

Food Chemistry

Food chemists develop and improve foods and beverages; analyze methods of cooking, canning, freezing, and packaging; and study the effects of processing on food.
Sensory Science

Sensory Science

Sensory scientists work to understand the characteristics of foods and how consumers perceive them. They ensure the foods we eat are appealing in addition to being safe and nutritious.
Food Sales

Food Marketing & Sales

Food marketing and sales professionals communicate through technical presentations, trade shows, print and virtual media, and face-to-face meetings with product developers.

What Kind of Income Can You Make in Science of Food Fields?

Food scientists typically earn salaries competitive with other science and engineering degrees. Most have successfully found a job or earned admission to graduate school months after graduation.

According to IFT’s 2017 Employment & Salary Survey Report, the median salary for professionals working in the science of food is $92,000. Food science graduates entering the field received a median salary starting at $50,000.

Below is a sampling of science of food career titles and their average salaries. 

Scholarships & more!

IFT's Feeding Tomorrow Fund provides scholarships, internships, connections, and more!

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Director of Research
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Food Scientist/Technologist
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Food Chemist
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Food Engineer
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Food Marketing & Sales

Food Science: Making Food Fun

IFT and Disney Consumer Products (DCP) partnered to raise the visibility of food science careers and the innovative potential of the profession to develop healthy and nutritious foods. Check out what a food scientist does at Disney.

Amy DeJong & Maya Warren: Ph.D. Students in Food Science

IFT Student Association members Amy DeLong and Maya Warren show us what life is like for Ph.D. students in food science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.                                                                                                         

Cory Bryant: FDA and Food Safety

IFT member Cory Bryant, Ph.D., CFS, shows us how the USFDA works with other countries to improve food safety so that future generations have access to a safe and abundant global food supply.

Fu-hung Hseih: Food Science Professor

University of Missouri Professor Fu-hung Hseih, Ph.D., CFS, talks about his work developing a soy-based food product that is sold in grocery stores nationwide and why he enjoys being a food scientist.

Brian Thane: Food Packaging Professional

IFT member Brian Thane, Director of Aseptic Technology at Tetra Park, talks about providing aseptic packaging to 170 countries, the interesting and rewarding aspects of his job, and how it contributes to the food science profession.                                                                                                                         

Michele Perchonok: Former Food Scientist at NASA

Follow IFT member Michele Perchonok, former Advanced Food Technology Manager at NASA, and members of the food science team as they guide us through their work in the Space Food Systems Laboratory and describe their role in conceptualizing and preparing food for successful missions in space.