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Food technologist

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Summary of occupation

Food technologists research, develop and oversee the production of a range of food products. They study the physical, chemical and biological properties of food and use this knowledge to develop or improve the materials, processes and technologies that go into making foods and beverages. They may also develop packaging, marketing plans and manufacturing processes for these products. They also devise and source ingredients for products, and find the best ways of combining, processing, storing and preserving them to maintain taste and nutritional value.

ANZSCO description: Develops new and improves existing food products, and sets standards for producing, packaging and marketing food.
Alternative names: Food Scientist
Specialisations: Food Packaging Technologist, Marketing Manager, Product Development Supervisor, Production Manager, Quality Assurance Supervisor, Research and Development Technologist
Job prospects: Limited
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Knowledge, skills and attributes

A food technologist needs:

  • a love of food
  • technical and practical skills
  • problem-solving skills
  • planning and organisational skills
  • accuracy and detail in their work
  • a knowledge of food biology and food chemistry.
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Working conditions

Food technologists mostly work for food manufacturing organisations and depending on their specific role may work in laboratories, offices or factories. They may be required to work in premises where food and food products are actually kept, which must be clean, sterile and well-lit. They usually work regular hours but may be expected to work longer hours to meet deadlines. They may occasionally be required to run laboratory tests at off-peak times, such as nights or weekends. They may also be required to travel in order to sample produce or to attend conferences.

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Salary details

On average, food technologists can expect to earn between $981 and $1 596 per week ($51 000 and $83 000 per year), depending on the organisation they work for, and their level of experience. As a food technologist develops their skills, their earning potential will generally increase.

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Tools and technologies

Food technologists use a variety of laboratory and scientific research equipment such as tensile and compressive testing systems, texture analysers, tenderometers, and probes and fixtures. They also use standard kitchen appliances such as refrigerators, blenders and ovens. They may use packaging and processing machinery, computers and specialised software, and safety and hygiene equipment.

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Education and training/entrance requirements

To become a food technologist you usually need to complete a degree in science with a major in food science and technology, nutrition or chemistry.

​Most universities in Western Australia offer relevant courses. Contact the universities you are interested in for more information.​

Related courses

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Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.

If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

Related apprenticeships

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Recognition of prior learning

If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.

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