Food industry

(Food Science major suggested)students in a kitchen

The food industry is an expanding and diversifying multi-billion dollar industry operating in a highly competitive market and must work with the health sector to respond to the challenges of ever-higher consumer expectations.

To do so they need highly qualified graduates with a clear understanding of food, nutrition, health and their inter-relationships. A degree in food and nutrition with a food science major leads to a career in a competitive and rapidly developing industry that is fundamental to all our lives. It is no understatement that as a graduate of food and nutrition you will have excellent employment prospects both nationally and internationally.

There is a wealth of exciting and diverse opportunities in areas such as production management, food quality, food safety, new product development and research, nutrition, sales and marketing and processing technology. Employers range from the major international corporations to small and medium size enterprises in such areas of the food sector as convenience foods, beverages, baked products, food ingredients, meat and dairy products and fresh fruit and vegetable production.

The food industry is constantly changing, creating new opportunities and producing exciting careers for its employees. There is a need for continuous technical input in order to be able to respond to and anticipate the changing demands of the consumer.

The roles in the food industry can vary depending on the specific position, department, type of business and the size of the company.

Types of employers:

Private and non-profit organisations

  • Airlines
  • Beverage companies
  • Canning plants
  • Cereal & grain companies
  • Confectionary companies
  • Consulting laboratories
  • Dairy product companies
  • Flavour and fragrance companies
  • Food equipment manufacturers
  • Food manufacturing firms
  • Frozen food companies
  • Ingredient companies
  • Meat product firms
  • Packaging companies
  • Pharmaceutical companies
  • Supermarket corporate offices

Government agencies:

Product development

Product development is about improving an existing product or developing new kinds of products.  It is an essential function of food manufacturers and those involved with fast moving consumer goods.

A product developer will work closely with manufacturing, sales and marketing and able to provide support and technical drive.  Product development involves developing innovative, attractive novel products using technical skills/knowledge in food processing, specialist knowledge of ingredients and process interactions, sensory evaluation and knowledge of the Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) food regulations.

Job titles/roles:

Product Development Technologist, Product Development Scientist, Product Developer, Senior Scientist, Nutritionist, Food Scientist, Research and Development Scientist, Product Development Manager, Food Technologist, Product Innovation Officer

Graduate Profile:

Rachel Sumwai (pdf 14KB) graduated from Bachelor of Food Science and Nutrition at Deakin in 2007.

Expert in area:

Anne-Marie Mackintosh (pdf 19KB) provides insight into careers in product development and management.

Sensory analysis

Sensory scientists play a role in quality control and product development.  They manage and train sensory panels who determine which flavour qualities are present in products.  Sensory scientists work closely with marketing, product development and research departments by giving valuable input in how existing products can be optimised and new products can be developed in such a way that it meets the needs of consumers.

Job titles/roles:

Sensory Analyst, Sensory Scientist, Sensory Research Scientist, Sensory Evaluation Scientist, Sensory Project Leader, Food Scientist, Senior Scientist.

Graduate profile:

Janelle Kwon (pdf 13KB) graduated from Bachelor of Food Science and Nutrition (Hons) at Deakin in 2008.

Expert in area:

Dr Samuel Stephen (pdf 22KB) expert in sensory analysis at Simplot Australia

Quality assurance/control

Quality assurance (QA) is a program for the systematic monitoring and evolution of a food process to ensure standards are being met. The responsibilities of the Quality Assurance Officer include carrying out QA inspection and performing verifications on the finished product for compliance to microbiological/chemical/toxicological standards.  A QA officer is responsible for maintaining records and reference samples for testing, monitoring production records and taking corrective and preventative action, undertaking Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) reviews and good manufacturing practice (GMP) auditing of manufacturing, providing quality assurance assistance during production, monitoring product release as well as assisting the QA Manager in general quality assurance tasks. QA involves the following main areas:

  • Food safety
  • Food microbiology
  • Risk assessment
  • Food law (food regulatory issues)

Job titles/roles:

Food Microbiologist, Quality Assurance Process Microbiologist, Quality Assurance Manager, Food Auditor, Risk Assessment Officer, Food Safety Manager, Food Safety Specialist, Quality Assurance Specialist, Quality Assurance Coordinator, Quality Assurance Food Safety Manager, Quality Control Technologist, Quality Assurance Assistant, Quality Assurance Officer Food Technologist, Quality and Innovation Officer, Technical Manager


Marketing is the process by which companies create consumer interest in their products.  Ascertaining consumer demand is vital for a food manufacturer's future. As a food marketer you will understand what the consumer wants, market segmentation and sales strategies.

A sales officer will be responsible for ensuring customers are satisfied with orders placed, problem solving customer enquiries through to completion/resolution and providing management with sales reports and market trends data.

Job titles/roles:

Food Product Marketing Officer, Product Buyer, Brand Manager, Marketing Officer, Sales Representative, Technical Sales Representative, Technical Sales and Marketing Manager, Sales Manager, Marketing Manager, Sales Support Coordinator, Sales Officer


Once you have gained a significant amount of experience working in the food industry you may like to use your skills to effectively manage teams.

If you like leading a team, you could work your way up through sales, product development or quality assurance to take on more responsibilities.

If you enjoy the challenge you could oversee the development of new products and work as a team to formulate new strategies and directions for the company.

Job titles/roles:

Product Development Manager, Technical Manager, Brand Manager, Quality Assurance Manager, Project Manager, Sales Manager, Food Safety Manager, Marketing Manager, Research Manager, Regulatory Manager, Research and Development Senior Project Leader

Expert in the area:

Ashley James - completed the Bachelor of Applied Science (Food Science and Nutrition) (now the Bachelor of Food and Nutrition) in 2002

Read Ashley's profile on his role in the management area of food and nutrition (pdf 97KB)


Today's increasingly complex food system has created a need for professionally qualified Nutritionists.

A Nutritionist may often function as the intermediary between the company and the public. Food industry Nutritionists have the opportunity to help improve the health of populations by changing the available food supply.

Roles of a Nutritionist in the food industry may be:

  • Ensuring label compliance by reviewing and approving label documentation
  • Providing nutrition or food science expertise to the business to enhance the nutrition profile of the brands
  • Maintaining ingredient and product information systems
  • Maintaining product composition integrity and regulatory compliance
  • Preparing nutrition related merchandising and marketing initiatives
  • Research to build scientific evidence to support nutrition claims for new products
  • Formulating/reformulating foods to make them healthier
  • Consumer and health professional education
  • Addressing customer enquiries
  • Nutrition policy and strategy

Job titles/roles:

Nutritionist, Research Scientist, Senior Scientist, Food Scientist

Graduate Profile:

Chrystal Yam (pdf 15KB) graduated from Bachelor of Applied Science (Food and Nutrition) Honours at Deakin in 2007

Expert in area:

Dr Ramon Hall (pdf 37KB) - Master of Human Nutrition, PhD. Dairy Health & Nutrition Consortium Manager, Dairy Innovation Australia Limited.


Research is the systematic evaluation of a topic to establish fact.

Food and nutrition is a complex and challenging research area.

Many large food companies have their own Research Centre specialising in food, nutrition, health, taste, texture, convenience, safety, quality, food technology, processing and packaging.  Research plays a crucial role in providing the scientific and technological basis for renovation and innovation of products.

Research in the food industry may be part of product development, quality assurance, sensory analysis, sales/marketing, nutrition and even part of management roles.

Job titles/roles:

Research Scientist, Senior Food Scientist, Food Scientist, Research Manager, Principal Scientist, Laboratory Scientist

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