School of Food Science and Nutrition

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"Our food industry employs 3.7 million people, contributing almost £90 billion to the economy. But there's a big skills gap across the food chain. The industry must attract more well qualified and ambitious candidates if it is to grow and innovate."

Jim Paice Former Minister of State for Agriculture and Food
Product development food science career

Product development careers

Jobs in product development focus on creating new food products and getting them onto the shelves.

There are two different paths in the product development process: one involves coming up with new ideas and designing new products; the other involves doing market research and marketing analysis. 

New product development is extremely important to food companies, and the food industry needs more people qualified to work in this creative career.

Food product development is big business

The choice of food and drink products on supermarket shelves is enormous.

The large supermarket chains and food suppliers are developing ever more complex offerings to compete for the multi-million pound market.

The need to develop new products is driven by the widening tastes of consumers, who are looking for convenience, value-for-money and variety.

The skills you’ll need to work in food product development

The skills and qualities needed to work in food product development are:

  • deep knowledge of food and ingredients
  • good practical skills
  • a passion for food
  • a desire to research new trends
  • an understanding of food science (food chemistry and nutrition)
  • up-to-date knowledge of the food industry
  • the creativity to create new ideas that work

A job in food product development means working with lots of other people, across a range of specialities, to make sure that products are developed that are successful, profitable and safe.

You’ll likely work in a big industrial 'kitchen', but will also be closely linked to the production factory.

Food product development salaries

Food product development salaries start at about £20,000 and can rise to £40,000 for a senior position either as a food technologist or manager.