A career in food science and nutrition can be as diverse as the agricultural produce and products that we consume in our everyday lives.If you have a passion for food or its role in health, human performance or illness prevention, then a career in food science and nutrition could be perfect for you.
What does a food and nutrition scientist do?Food and nutrition scientists contribute to every step of the value chain, from paddock to plate as well as research and development.
Food and nutrition scientists study the physical, chemical and biological elements of food to help enhance products using cutting-edge technology, research agricultural produce, innovate new products, improve food processes, optimise the nutritional value of food, protect the integrity of the global food chain and educate communities on how to live healthier, longer lives, and more.
As a food scientist, you could be researching how to grow more resilient barley in the face of climate change, creating a new range of gut-friendly probiotic banana chips, harnessing waste products from cheese production, finding ways to increase yields from local wheat crops, producing biodegradable packaging from mushrooms or working with at-risk groups to prevent chronic diseases.
What careers can you pursue if you study food science and nutrition?
As a food scientist, there are a diverse range of roles that you could work towards including:
- Nutritionist or Public Health Nutritionist
- Food Scientist or Technologist
- Product Manager
- Food Safety Officer
- Food Marketing and Food Media
- Manager in educational health, wellbeing and community programs
What industries could you work in as a food scientist?
As a food and nutrition scientist, you could forge a highly rewarding career in the food, health or human nutrition fields with government bodies, private industries, not-for-profit organisations and charities.
Governments need educators to run local community health initiatives; food manufacturers and food retailers need marketing and promotion of their products; professional athletes require dietary advice and support; and the world’s growing population needs researchers to find ways to produce food more efficiently.
All of these industries require food science and nutritionists to help with their diverse range of food and health requirements.
What skills do you need as a food scientist?Depending on the type of role you end up working in, the type of skills you need will vary. However, all food scientists should be well-grounded in human physiology, chemistry, cell biology and nutrition.
But it’s not just about being book smart. Employers also look for people with good soft skills who can work well with others in a team environment, are effective communicators, can problem solve and think critically.
How to prepare for your food science and nutrition career while you’re at uni
To help get a head start on your career, you might like to:
- Consider a study abroad experience or exchange to one of our partner universities.
- Make use of the Murdoch Careers and Employability portal to explore opportunities, book into career workshops and industry events.
- Get involved in professional mentoring programs such as the Murdoch Industry Mentoring (MIM) program.
- Find paid work opportunities to get experience during your studies or apply for summer or winter study break vacation work.
The future of food science and nutrition
While food has always been a basic essential need, there has never been a bigger focus on food than right now. Whether it’s for increasingly health conscious consumers chasing the latest nutritional trends (think plant-based diets or pea milk) or to shore up the world’s food security as our population continues to rise, we can expect to see higher demand for food scientists and nutritionists.
Does food science and nutrition sound like a career for you? Check out our course in Food Science and Nutrition.