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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.

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. Many find employment in large country centres near where foods are grown and processed.

Food technologists 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.

"The best part of my job is that one day is never the same as the next, I can be in a vineyard one morning and then spend the afternoon brainstorming new ideas with our marketing teams" - Rebekah Richardson, Winemaker.

Pay

Full-time wine scientists in South Australia generally earn more than $1,600 per week.

Graph of pay scale for Food and wine scientist

Job prospects

In 2011 there were 551 people employed full-time as 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, maths, 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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Career information has been sourced from government publications, see data sources for more information.

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