Is A Food Science Degree Worth It?
Is a food science degree worth it? According to students and graduates, there are many pros and some cons. We will list the advantages and disadvantages and let you reach your own conclusion.
The food science degree is an extension of applied science and technology and it takes four years to complete. This is based on accumulating 30 credits per year for a total of 120 credits. A food science degree blends physics, chemistry, nutrition, biology and engineering to form a stream of studies that helps you research, manage, process, develop, market and distribute nutritious food. With a constant growing market and so many opportunities, food scientists are in great demand.
In this post, you will learn pros and cons and determine if a food science degree is worth it.
Here Are 5 Cons of a Food Science Degree
Sometimes you will have to travel at a moment’s notice due to some type of crisis and you may have to travel often. This will of course affect some more than others however, you will find yourself canceling plans with your children and other loved ones because you only have a two-day window to prepare for an unexpected trip. Many food scientists suffer from travel fatigue And sometimes the trips last a day or a month.
- Weight Gain
Perhaps you got into this field because you loved food and can afford to gain weight but if you can’t, A food science degree can mean trouble for you. Many food scientists say that they gain between 10 and 20 pounds. This is because they have to sample food every day. Unfortunately, it’s human nature to take more than what we require or need which is one of the reasons for the weight gain. A lot of food scientists find themselves being taken out by vendors for an early lunch and then having to visit teammates for round two.
- Everything is a Trade Secret
If you have not heard, food science is an area where everything you learn is by word of mouth and is a trade secret. There is no textbook training and the documents about certain processes are usually impossible to read or completely outdated. If you’re fortunate enough to cross the path of someone willing to share their knowledge, you will probably have to pay a pretty penny for it.
- Strange Laws and Nuances
You should not be a food scientist if you are not a rule follower because every single food product in the world has strange laws of nature and nuances. If you’re easily frustrated by having to follow certain processes then you might want to take a second look before you obtain a food science degree.
- It is Your Fault
You can’t be soft skinned and be a food scientist because everything is going to be your fault so get prepared. If the sales take a nosedive it’s your fault. If the food doesn’t taste good it is surely your fault.
Here Are 10 Pros of a Food Science Degree
- Travel Opportunities
Obtaining a degree in this field may afford you the opportunity to travel all over the country and if you’re one of the lucky ones, all over the world. Many companies conduct business in multiple countries and you can be on your way to join them as chef or food inspector.
- Great Food Exposure
You will be exposed to an overabundance of excellent food after you obtain a food science degree. If you became a part of this industry because you love food then you will enjoy testing many different types of foods and creating your own. You will learn about new flavors that you never knew existed. If you are a stickler you have the opportunity to ensure people are producing quality, safe food.
- Job Opportunities
With a food science degree, you will never be limited with sitting at a desk all day or just working in a lab unless that’s what you would like to do. Working in the food industry offers thousands of different jobs ranging from teaching, quality control, marketing, sales and pretty much anything else you can think of. Let’s face it, we all either love to eat or need to eat or both. This is a multidisciplinary field that effects everyone and opens up a wealth of opportunities like production manager, quality assurance, product development, sensory tester or restaurant owner. The list is endless.
- Job Security
Not only does the food industry effect everyone it is the largest industry on earth. The bottom line is that people must eat to survive. They may choose different types of diets but they must all eat! It does not matter if your company closes or has a big layoff, you always have an option to work somewhere in the food industry. This is job security at its best because you will always be able to find the next opportunity. As of December 2021, the unemployment rate in this field is only 4%.
- Great Salary Possibilities
With this degree you have an opportunity to earn top dollar in this industry. In 2011, the median salary for a BS degree in food science was $80,000. Currently they state the average salary is between 50 and 70K however some food scientists make well over six figures.
- Safer Foods
A food scientist helps to ensure that all the raw materials used are safe, adhere to shelf-life constraints and legal requirements. They work closely with production and research teams to develop innovative food recipes that are healthy, safe and tasty. You may think of a food scientist as the “food police” when they work as a quality assurance manager. They are the people in this industry who ensure that the food products meet the government stated standards. They may need to develop recipes that satisfy a specific cause for instance, diabetics needs foods that are low in sugar and many people need low fat foods. A person with a food science degree can make great contributions to the health of individuals.
- Improved Culinary Skills
You do not need a food science degree to become a chef however, it certainly does improve your culinary skills and gives you a higher edge above the others in being hired by big hotels or industries. It helps you as a chef to understand the working of different ingredients together in a final food product. If you are not a chef and just enjoy cooking, this would be a great degree for you!
- Specialty Food Development
If you are a person that has food allergies or you only eat a plant-based diet, you can thank the person that has obtained a food science degree. The food a vegetarian consumes that seems to contain meat like the Impossible Burger, but in fact does not can be contributed to a food scientist. They also design foods to feel, look and taste like they are gluten filled such as gluten-free pastas, pastries and breads. Some food scientists can synthesize materials into edible form by identifying natural substances with beneficial properties.
- Rewarding and Meaningful Career
I’m sure you have heard the expression “You are what you eat” and hopefully used it to improve your health. A food scientist is often driven by desire to help improve our health by offering nourishing foods. This can be very rewarding as well as meaningful especially when their contribution helped save lives. They find innovative ways to ensure foods are processed as natural as possible and guarantee that they are not over processed. Many people have pursued a food science degree to help heel a loved one. They may create a process for an existing food or develop something a new altogether.
If you’re interested in creating food, packing it, selling it or ensuring that it is safe, this is surely the degree for you. There are many rewards and growth opportunities if you are seeking a career that promises good returns and a secured lifestyle.