Food Science

Feed the world! If you like food and you enjoy science, then a career as a food scientist may be for you. A career in food science and technology is diverse and challenging, one day you may be developing a new food product and the next you may be solving technical problems on a processing line.

What is food science and technology?

Food scientists develop and improve ways to process raw ingredients, such as grains, meats, milk, fruit and vegetables to safe, tasty and nutritious foods. The study of food science and technology is multi-disciplinary, involving application of the basic sciences chemistry, nutrition, engineering, microbiology and the latest research developments in the handling, processing and packaging of foods from the farm to the consumer’s plate.

What does a food scientist and technologist do?

The food industry is the largest industry in the world and needs highly trained professionals in food science and technology to ensure the supply, quality and safety of food for everybody on the planet. Food scientists apply chemistry, biochemistry, microbiology, and engineering to research, develop, process, evaluate, package and market food.

Food scientists determine the quality and properties of foods including the nutritive value, flavour, palatability, colour, texture and storage life of foods using sensory testing, biochemistry and microbiology techniques. Food technologists apply their knowledge of food science to operate, design and manage the facilities and equipment involved in the processing and storage of foods.

Food scientists and technologists are also involved in the research and development of new food products and new technologies in the processing of foods.

Career opportunities

There is a high and growing demand for graduates of food science and technology in a range of professional areas including food quality assurance, research and development of new products and new processing technologies, microbiology, technical consulting, and sales and marketing. Potential employers include: food suppliers and manufacturers, beverage manufacturers, supermarket chains, hospitals, airlines, wine companies, teaching institutions, commonwealth and state research laboratories.

Graduates work as food chemists, research specialists, product developers, food microbiologists, quality control technologists process engineers, marketing specialists, teachers. They may be found in agricultural research, hospitals and health agencies, analytical laboratories, food suppliers and manufacturers of staple or pre-prepared foods, marketing and sales, supermarket chains, airlines and wine companies. Employment prospects are high, both in Australia and overseas.

Food science courses and research Our overarching emphasis is on developing food products with improved functional, nutritional and health quality attributes that match the global markets demand – healthy land, healthy people, improving food security.

Strategic linkages

The research capability of the food science program is strengthened through the forging of strategic linkages with university, government and industry groups.

  • AIFST Australian Institute Food Science and Technology
  • Australian Universities: Murdoch University, University of Western Australia, University of Queensland, University of Wollongong, Deakin University and University of Sydney
  • Department of Agriculture and Food Western Australia
  • Australian Export Grains Innovation Centre
  • Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation
  • Grains Research and Development Corporation
  • Dairy Australia
  • Local, national and International food companies e.g. Sanitarium Health and Wellbeing, Anchor Foods, The Chia Company, Sweeter Banana Co-Operative, Jinshahe Noodle Manufacturing Co Ltd China, Seamild China, Inovobiologic Canada
  • Overseas universities and research institutes: Jiangnan University, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Indonesian Institute of Science (LIPI), University Pelita Harapan (UPH), University Putra Malaysia (UPM), King Mongkut’s University of Technology (KMUTT), Mahidol University, Central Food Research & Training Institute (CFTRI),  Institute of Chemical Technology, University of Mumbai (UoM),  Indian Institute of Technology Karagpoor (IITK), Anna University,  Guru Nanak Dev University, University of the Philippines, Diliman, University of Peradeniya (UoP), CIC Ltd in Sri Lanka, National Institute of Health Sciences (Sri Lanka), Hanoi Agricultural University, University of Pretoria.

The Australian food and grocery sector turnover totalled $127.4 billion in 2015-16 (Australian Food and Grocery Council 2017). However, the industry consists of only a few large companies and a significant number of small to medium companies with limited or no R&D facilities. The required research capability to support a drive for greater exploitation of the food produced in WA is not available through any other research organisation or tertiary education institute. The Food Science and Technology staff are the only independent food science expertise available in WA. With its unique facilities, such as the only sensory evaluation facility in WA, and access to one of the few small pilot scale high temperature high pressure food extruders in Australia, Food Science and Technology researchers are playing a vital role in the development of the food industry in Australia and the Asia Pacific region.

Research staff

Technical staff