Food scientists improve food products, analyse the nutritional value of foods and ensure food safety. Most work for food corporations. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) combines food technologists and food scientists in its salary figures, as these titles commonly have the same job descriptions. Salary varies widely depending on education level, type of employment and years of experience.
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Food scientists employed by commercial food corporations work on recipe development, product improvement and manufacturing process improvement. Some of them analyse the chemical components of food to determine the levels of vitamins, fat, carbohydrate and protein. They also may work in marketing. Other food scientists are employed by universities and by state and federal government. Some research potential improvements in preserving, processing and packaging foods, or in discovering new food sources. They also may focus on ensuring food safety.
A bachelor's degree is usually required for food scientists working in product development, and those in research typically need a master's degree or a Ph.D., as noted by the BLS. Average starting pay for food scientists as of December 2010 was about £6.60 to £11.80 per hour, with an increase to £9.40 to £15.90 for those with one to nine years of experience, reports the PayScale salary survey website.
The average salary for food scientists as of May 2009 was about £20 per hour or £41,860 per year, according to the BLS. Food scientists in the middle 50 per cent of the earnings range were making £13.80 to £24.90 per hour, or £28,730 to £51,935 per year. Those in the top 10 per cent of earnings were making over £66,950 annually.
Working for merchant wholesalers is a lucrative opportunity, with average annual salaries for food scientists from £50,700 to £63,310 as of 2009, as detailed by the BLS. The federal government does not employ a large number of food scientists, but pays them well, at an average of about £27.6 per hour or £57,655 annually. Jobs-Salary.com, a website that gathers actual job listings, shows nearly all food scientist jobs paying £58,500 to £86,450 as of 2006 with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. A senior food scientist opening at PepsiCo offered £59,800, and one at Sugarloaf Farming, a California winery, paid £97,500.
The East Coast tends to be the best area of the United States for food scientists looking for higher salaries, indicates the BLS. In the metropolitan area of Edison-New Brunswick, New Jersey, for instance, food scientists are getting paid an average salary close to £63,700 per year as of 2009. Those in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area earn about £59,150 per year on average. Food scientists in the metropolitan areas of New York City, Newark and Philadelphia could expect to earn £52,650 to £53,300 on average in 2009.
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