There is a range of jobs for graduates in the food industry, from the scientific and technological to the creative. The main areas include product development, food technology, quality assurance and research and development (R&D).
Food technologists plan the manufacture of food and drink products, working on ingredients and technologies that lead to the development of new recipes. A food related degree is advantageous but degrees in microbiology, biochemistry, nutrition, and applied chemistry are also useful. Applied science, mathematical science and physical sciences are also recognised to gain entry to this area.
Quality control or quality assurance ensures that products meet safety standards. In this job you are responsible for implementing, updating and amending quality related documentation; creating, updating and controlling product specifications; supervising warehouse and production cleaning; and controlling recipes, adjustments and sample production. You will need a methodical approach and a good eye for detail.
Research and product development
Product development managers are responsible for the development of new products from concept to launch, including sample development, trial runs, internal research and conducting taste panel sessions.
Employers include beverage companies, canning plants, dairy companies, confectionery companies, cereal and grain companies, meat producing firms, food manufacturing firms, flavour and fragrance companies, food equipment companies and frozen foods companies. There are also opportunities in the public sector, for example in government departments, the Food Safety Authority of Ireland and Teagasc.