If you have an interest in science, strong communication skills and good attention to detail then a career as a Food Technologist could be for you.
A Food Technologist is mainly concerned with ensuring that food products are safely and legally produced. They are also involved in the creating new manufacturing processes as well as developing new recipes for food and drinks. Food Technologists are asked to come up with new foods and flavours where they will develop prototypes of food which are tested for human consumption. In line with this, Food Technologists may be involved in modifying foods to create fat-free products or ready meals. Therefore, a Food Technologist needs to stay up-to-date with food production processes and customer demand.
Most institutions will require you to have taken the following subjects at high school:
- Pure Mathematics
- Physical Science
- Life Sciences
The following institutions are highly recommended for studies in Food Technology:
- Stellenbosch University – no specific APS
- Cape Penninsula University of Technology (CPUT) – APS of 29
- University of Johannesburg (UJ) – APS of 21+
- University of Pretoria (UP) – APS of 30
In order to qualify as a Food Technologist, you will need to have a formal qualification. You will either need a Bachelor of Science Degree in Food Science/Zoology and Botany or a Natinal Diploma in Food Technology. There are quite a few postgraduate qualifications you can do if you would like to further your studies. Experience gained through apprenticeships is valuable in this field.
You will need to have the following skills to succeed as a Food Technologist:
- strong communication skills
- awareness of consumer interests
- an interest in science in food and technology
- time mangement
- organistaion skills
- attention to detail
A Food Technologist will generally work for a company that produces food – this can be in the public or private sector. Some of the most common positions are in quality assurance and product development for supermarket chains.
If you work in the public sector, you can expect the normal 9am – 5pm working hours. However, you could be called upon to do shift work if there are production trials or if you’re working in the private sector.
A Food Technologist will, on average, earn an annual salary of R177 560 in South Africa with a high probability of a significant raise with experience.
Here are a few things you can expect from a career as a Food Technologist:
- your work will either be carried out in a factory, laboratory or kitchen
- hygiene is a very important part of the job and your dress code will need to comply with this standard
- this type of work could be difficult if you are a strict vegetarian or have religious reservations regarding certain foods