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What does a food scientist's typical work day look like?

I'm interested in pursuing a career in the culinary field, but I also want to attend an "academically traditional" college. I found that a handful of schools have food science as a major, so I want to delve more into that particular area of study.

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Jaye’s Answer

A “typical day” will vary between food scientists and even for one scientist. I work as a food scientist at a consumer packaged goods (CPG) company in product development and brand stewardship role. In any given week, I may be in office or on the computer at home 3-4days a week in meetings/calls, working with non-scientists through scoping or providing input for new projects, modifying and working on specifications in a database, planning bench top or trial work, providing remote support to plants, documenting trial work, addressing problems or issues in our current products, or engaging in learning about the company or skills. Then 2-3 days a week I may be in the lab, pilot plant, or plant (or traveling to a plant) working on new formulas or changes to current formulas for quality improvements, cost savings, or business continuity. There are others at my company who work on front end technical innovation, intensive research, food safety, ingredient research, or other types of projects that may not be as close to commercialization. Some large companies may also have research chefs or individuals with culinary backgrounds who work on dishes to help inspire development and explore trends. A large company may have an entire department devoted to consumer/sensory science, which is a sort of blend between psychology, statistics, and food science.
There are many different kinds of food scientists who work on different projects in different sectors. Some food scientists may work at an ingredient company of a company that both supplies ingredients and finished products. Others may choose a career in the public sector advancing food safety with a government organization.
There are scientists have advanced masters and PhD degrees while others have a bachelors. People may have studied food science at a traditional university or studied biology, microbiology, chemistry, animal science, dairy science, grain science, enology, chemical engineering, or computer science.
It’s important to think about what in the culinary space you are interested in and what types of skills you may need. There are many processes to bring a food from raw ingredients to the table. A similar way to think about a day in the life of a food scientist is to think about healthcare: there are many people who work in healthcare, but not everyone working in healthcare is a doctor tending to patients and not all doctors specialize in the same area.

Thank you so much for the amazingly detailed information, I had no idea how broad food science can be. I also love the analogy you provided at the end! Rachel C.

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Estelle’s Answer

Rachel, I have a good friend who is a senior food science engineer. She has worked at most of the large food companies formulating much of what we eat today. And she tells me that the field is growing as smaller newer food companies are attacking the organic, vegetarian, and vegan segments, not including all the new beverage companies that are popping up. She spends most of her time in the lab working on projects that the company wants to develop like new dairy products including ice creams and milk alternatives. She and her team is given a project to develop test products that are evaluated by the marketing teams. Of course she has to know all about food chemistry and lab testing techniques. She does not do the product testing but does the formulation and her team makes up the product. She is responsible for food safety, taste, consistency , health issues and trying to come up with something the public will like. If you are interested, I would suggest trying to get an internship with large food manufacturers and if you like it then take lots of chemistry classes.

The profession seems very interesting. Thank you for the advice! Rachel C.

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Sharool’s Answer

As a processing food scientist, you'll work on techniques like canning, drying, evaporation, blanching, baking and pasteurization.
Finally, as a regulatory food scientist, you'll go around enforcing food regulations for the government or making sure that your food industry employer is following regulations.

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Sharool’s Answer

As a processing food scientist, you'll work on techniques like canning, drying, evaporation, blanching, baking and pasteurization.
Finally, as a regulatory food scientist, you'll go around enforcing food regulations for the government or making sure that your food industry employer is following regulations.

I wasn't aware of the different types of food scientists. Thank you for the information! Rachel C.

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Dada’s Answer

As a food scientist you design the appropriate taste tests or batch number of taste tests to bring a new product by reformulating before the final product is introduced to the food enthusiasts
Food scientist will always be up to date with water supply specifications , food standards and production specifications, safety and sanitary regulations, and waste management.
On a daily basis you stay updated on new regulations and current events regarding food science by reviewing scientific literature &
test new products for flavor, texture, color, nutritional content, and adherence to government and industry standards.

That's helpful information to know, thank you! Rachel C.

You are Welcome . All the Best for your future endeavours . Keep Exploring : ) Dada Shaik

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