Food and wine scientists develop and improve existing food products and set standards for producing, packaging and marketing food. They use chemistry, microbiology, engineering and other scientific methods in their work. They may also be referred to as food technologists.
Specialisations may include meat, dairy, seafood, cereal products, confectionery, snack foods, beverages and processed fresh produce.
Where food and wine scientists are employed
Food and wine scientists work in food, confectionery, wine and beverage manufacturing firms, in departments such as research, marketing and distribution, quality assurance, new product development and production, as well as in the research and development of food standards regulation. Additional opportunities exist with equipment manufacturers, flavouring and food ingredient businesses and in the retail sector.
Some food technologists are employed by government organisations such as the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and others work in state and territory government departments that are concerned with the quality of processed foods. Significant numbers find employment in large country centres near where foods are grown and processed.
Food and wine scientists may undertake further study to gain employment as teachers or lecturers in Vocational Education and Training (VET) and higher education institutions or as self-employed consultants to the food industry. Graduates of biochemistry, chemistry and microbiology may also find employment as food technologists.
Seafood technologists are employed in many areas of the fishing industry, including quality control, factory management, developing new products and training fishers in the correct handling of seafood.
Dairy technologists work for organisations that manufacture or sell dairy produce, marketing boards and dairy machinery manufacturers. Other dairy industry opportunities include advisory and control work in processing and distribution, grading and analysis, teaching and research.
Full-time wine scientists in South Australia generally earn more than $1,600 per week.
In 2011 there were 551 people employed full-time as food and wine scientists in South Australia, compared with 526 in 2006.
How to become one
To become a food and wine scientist you usually have to study nutrition, dietetics, food science or food technology at university. To get into these courses you usually need to gain your South Australian Certificate of Education (SACE). At school consider doing English, mathematics, biology and chemistry.
For information on course admission requirements and how to apply to the universities and TAFE in South Australia, visit the South Australian Tertiary Admissions Centre (SATAC).
Check South Australian Universities at The University of Adelaide, Flinders University and University of South Australia.
For information about Australian universities, visit Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching (QILT).
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