By Marli Naidoo
Food scientists do research with the purpose of solving problems in the food industry and keeping abreast of new developments. Research in product development leads to the improvement of existing products by changing either the substance or the manufacturing techniques.
Decay, for example, remains the main cause of food loss in many countries, as people do not know how to prevent their food from decaying. Food scientists are able to overcome some of these problems by generating new knowledge about the chemical, biochemical, physical and microbiological features of food and food components.
Food can be frozen, canned or dried and in this way be preserved so that it can be available throughout the year. Food scientists must apply these processes while making sure that nutrients and texture are maintained.
In food factories these scientists ensure that products meet the prescribed quality requirements, and they will report any deviations. They will, for example, do inspections at the producers to make sure that grading regulations and specifications for hygiene are applied. They will also analyse samples taken during different stages of manufacture, to ensure that the quality is up to standard.
Food scientists make sure that factories comply with various requirements: structural and hygienic requirements, the quality of raw material, general processes, handling of products, packaging and the composition of products.
They are also responsible for administrative work and reporting, and will supervise laboratory assistants and workers in food plants.
This career will suit people who like to work with biological material, especially food products. They must be responsible and be able to take decisions independently, work alone and in a team, and possess good interpersonal skills.
A food scientist has a B.Sc. in Food Science. To acquire admission to this study field, you will have to take Math and Science at school level.
Potential employers include the SABS, research institutes, food processing factories, government departments, marketing boards and universities. Food scientists can also establish their own consulting agencies or eventually become food producers. They earn between R152 000 and R345 000 annually, depending on experience.
Go Study: https://www.gostudy.net/occupation/food-scientist-and-technologist
South African Association for Food Science and Technology: https://www.saafost.org.za/mysaafost/a-career-in-food-science-and-technology/