Is Food Industry for Me?
One of the neat things about nutrition science is how it overlaps and intertwines with so many food-centric career options. One of these options is food industry – large and small – with a strong business twist, research technology angle, and consumer reach. Diving into food industry and learning the ins-and-outs can be a bit overwhelming, so let’s break it down and take one bite at a time.
Food Companies – Large and Small
It may be surprising to find out that 10 large food companies control nearly all the food and beverages produced around the world. This infographic from Oxfam shows the interconnections of hundreds of familiar brands owned by the 10 largest companies, like Quaker, Tropicana, Gerber, Dannon, Eggo, Pepsi, Lay’s, and many more. Working in nutrition science for a large, global food company is an exciting way to go for a couple years’ experience or a lifetime of challenge and fun.
3 Career Options in Larger Companies
- Research and Development of new products with positive nutrition additions such as protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
- Sensory Testing of new products to evaluate consumer preferences, likes, and dislike
- Nutrition Communications, including social media and advertising project leadership, to promote and educate consumers about the company and its products
Nowadays, small start-up food companies are succeeding as the healthy, natural, clean-eating movement gains strength in the US. Many of us flip over our food package or wrapper and read, looking for easy to pronounce and simple ingredients. We value foods with fewer preservatives, artificial colors, less sugar and salt. In a niche most of us never thought about, 5 small back-packing food companies are seeing strong sales. These 14 sustainable food companies bring a strong environmental twist to their business vision and employee teams as well.
3 Career Options in Smaller Companies
- Nutrition Director, including all matters dealing with product development, packaging, nutrition science promotion and education
- Community Nutrition Director to create and plan ongoing partnerships with health and wellness leaders and organizations, including hospitals, schools, YMCAs, and businesses
- Online Marketing and Education Director to create online campaigns, including cooking videos, that draw attention to the company and how its products help consumers eat well
Getting Started in Food Industry
As with many exciting careers in nutrition science, a good education is step #1. Read about setting your goals and plan in this earlier blog. After you are underway with your formal education, then consider networking to snag a great internship. This is step #2. Not only will an internship give you something new to add to your resume, it will also allow you to try out a real job in nutrition science. Step #3 is to narrow down your interests as you get close to graduation with a degree. Finding a mentor will make this decision process a little easier. Then, get ready for job applications and interviews. Here are some tips on how to succeed in an interview for your job in nutrition science.
What aspect of food industry seems fun and challenging to you?