Almost all tertiary institutions in the country, from polytechnics to universities, offer Food Science and Technology as one of their accredited courses, despite the fact that the course is relatively new.
Food Science and Technology is an exciting field that draws its roots in many disciplines, including physics, biology, chemistry, and engineering. It involves the sciences of food, beginning from the agricultural basics to nutritional value and progressing on to the elements of food processing and safety.
Where Can a Food Scientist Work in Nigeria?
A degree in Food Science and Technology arms you with the scientific and technical prowess needed for a wide range of job opportunities in the food and drink industry and public health and research institutes.
Food scientists not only look into the fundamental elements of food but also carry out responsibilities such as product development, product design, product packaging, shelf-life studies, sensory evaluation, chemical testing, and even microbial studies.
Places Where you can Work as a Food Scientist in Nigeria
Here in Nigeria, some of the places that offer job opportunities to Food Science and Technology degree holders include:
- Agro-allied Industries
- Food/Beverage Industries
- Research Institutes
- Government/Private Agencies
- Health Organizations
Examples of Agro-allied/Food Industries include Honeywell Floor Mills Plc, Nestle Nigeria Plc, Unilever Nigeria Plc, Nigerian Breweries Plc, Rite Foods, etc. Research Institutes include NSPRI, CRIN, FIIRO, and UTA. While agencies like NAFDAC, SON, and FCCPC constitute some government and private-owned institutions.
As a Food Scientist in any of the aforementioned institutions, you could find yourself working as a:
- Graduate Intern
- Production Officer
- Regulatory Compliance Officer
- Product Development Officer
- Quality Manager
- Research Scientist
Branches of Food Science and Technology
Being a multidisciplinary field, there are many branches of Food Science and Technology that you could apply as a degree holder. Some of these branches include:
- Food Quality/Microbiologist: Food scientists in this field are proficient in various science disciplines. They play a vital role in ensuring that food items are safe for consumption.
- Food Engineering: A food engineer designs and develops systems for processing, handling, packaging, and storing food.
- Product Development: A food scientist in this field works hand-in-hand with other team members as they strive to create high-quality, nutritional products that taste great and are affordable.
- Food Chemistry: A food scientist’s role here is to analyze methods of cooking, canning, freezing, and packaging and devise means of making them safer and more efficient. They also study the effects of packaging on food.
- Sensory Service: Here, the food scientist studies the characteristics of food and how customers perceive them. They strive to produce appealing products while still being safe and nutritious.
- Food Marketing/Sales: The food scientist here acts as a middleman between product developers and their target customers. They relate with product developers via physical meetings and technical presentations while advertising the products to the target audience through trade shows, print/virtual media platforms, etc.
How Much Does a Food Scientist Earn In Nigeria?
Without a doubt, a degree in Food Science and Technology could open up doors to numerous high-paying jobs, both here in Nigeria and abroad. The average salary of a food scientist here in Nigeria ranges from N45,000 to N650,000, depending on where you work.
Advantages of Studying Food Science and Technology
Choosing a field of study is never easy, especially in Nigeria. However, Food Science and Technology is a great career and would not be a bad choice. Here are some of the benefits you stand to enjoy from studying this course:
- Availability of Jobs: People always require food. It is what we live on. This is why the food sector is one of the largest globally. No matter where you find yourself in the supply chain, jobs are always available.
- Work Flexibility: With a degree in Food Science and Technology, you can literally work everywhere. You do not have to confine yourself to the norm. You can become your boss by becoming a food entrepreneur. You can also venture into manufacturing, sales, and even education. In the food industry, there is something for everyone.
- Enjoy the Food: If you appreciate the art of cooking, you will love your job as a food scientist. You will be exposed to a variety of mouth-watering dishes and intriguing recipes, either when you are designing new products, evaluating product quality or simply conducting research.