The food industry employs more than 500,000 people. A mass of changing legislation governs the production of fresh meat and vegetables, dairy produce, bread and cakes, processed and preserved foods, snacks, ready meals, and the ingredients to make them. Processes include mixing, heating, fermenting, sterilizing, chilling, and packaging. Food technologists aim to produce safe food with a consistent flavor, color, texture and appeal.
Food technologists play a key role in turning raw materials into appealing food products, efficiently and safely.
Work involves new product development, quality assurance and retailing, with a potential overlap between all three. Food technologists are most likely involved in food processing and engineering, food microbiology, food biochemistry and food nutrition. They may be assigned to work in a laboratory and conduct testing and analysis of food samples for quality control or to take charge of plant operations, to determine points in the process flow requiring ring improvement / modification and other problems. Food technologists work with factory workers, plant engineers and other laboratory personnel such as chemists, microbiologists, biologists, etc.
Food technologists may specialize in fields such as meat and dairy products or seafood. They may also work in areas such as marketing and management, production supervision, quality control, or research and development. They develop new, and improve existing, food products and set standards for producing, packaging and marketing food.
In food manufacturing, their work may also involve carrying out process support and development, new product development, and quality control; developing the ability to repeat the process to ensure consistency and safety; liaising and co-operating with technical and commercial staff in procurement, sales and technical service, marketing and distribution, and also with official food inspection and hygiene agencies.
This takes up a considerable proportion of typical activities on the manufacturing side. In retailing, the food technologist's typical work activities include working with suppliers on quality issues and new product ideas and in the public sector, the work involves carrying out administration and devising policy for government departments; and carrying out enforcement roles in local authority environmental health departments.
There are many resources to assist in food technology, including the on-line ones. Food Science Central provides information relating to the world of food science, food technology and food-related human nutrition. IFIS has been producing quality comprehensive information for the world's food science, food technology and nutrition community since its foundation in 1968.
These are invaluable resources for all food scientists, food technologists, chemists and nutritionists in universities, research establishments, food and pharmaceutical companies.