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This career is a multidisciplinary field that combines science, engineering, chemistry, and microbiology.
Their responsibilities typically include designing techniques for food processing and packaging, researching ways to improve the existing methods of food preservation, creating new foods, providing support to food manufacturing companies, dealing with any challenges related to food supply, and occasionally providing support to marketing departments.
A food engineer is often employed by food manufacturers, and often works alongside experts from the agricultural and food processing industries to improve food value, nutrition and supply. Mixing science and food, a person in this field may be responsible for food additives, food safety and research of chemicals found within food. They also may be responsible for developing new food items or designing food production processes within a manufacturing company.
Food engineering is a fast growing profession and demand for food engineers' particular set of skills is expected to grow over the next decade.
A job as a food engineer requires certain skills.
First and foremost, one pursuing this career must obtain a degree in either engineering or food science. College courses that are required include food science, chemistry and mathematics. It is very important to have a real understanding of food, its composition, and how various chemicals interact with it.
Food engineers generally apply new techniques, latest tools and scientific findings to stay a step ahead of the food competition. A person interested in this career must also adhere to strict safety and health guidelines.
Food engineers must have strong analytical and problem solving skills, and be able to work in a team environment, as they usually work closely with microbiologists, engineers, and marketing staff. Good written and verbal communication skills are also required, and organizational skills are an asset in most jobs.
Although a food engineer's daily tasks may vary, they will all be related to food. Some days, an engineer might be testing an existing product to make it more stable and safer. On a different day, a food engineer might be faced with a totally different task. For instance, some products may be affected by sunlight or air. Someone in this field would research ways to protect the food from all elements. Food safety is one of the main tasks a food engineer is responsible for. A large portion of a food engineer's time will be spent researching this topic. Food engineers will also be asked to develop more cost efficient wholesale food production methods, and determine the standards for quality and safety.