Careers in the food industry are wide ranging. As well as the more obvious jobs, like waiter or chef, there are numerous roles involved in creating, marketing and distributing food products.
All of the careers in the food industry below require ingenuity, dedication and enthusiasm. They are perfect for those who are willing to work hard and who love food!
Development chefs create new food products by conducting experiments to find the best flavours and textures. They ensure new products meet food safety standards and that they are long-lasting, which is especially important if products are going to be transported and sold far away. Development chefs also research who their products might be sold to by carrying out consumer testing.
Development chefs are employed by high-end restaurants and chain restaurants, hotels and supermarkets. The kind of people these organisations look for are creative and have strong communication skills (development chefs have to work with marketing and technical teams, to determine how their products will be mass-produced and sold). Development chefs are expected to have a passion for food and previous experience working in restaurant kitchens (ideally in senior positions). A degree in food product development would also be helpful. The benefits of the job include having regular hours and an average salary of £25,000 to £40,000, depending on your level of experience.
Food photographers take photos for cookery books, advertising campaigns and food packaging. They aim to make food look enticing, so that shoppers want to buy it. Some get degrees or diplomas in photography, but most start out by working as assistants to established food photographers. Knowledge of different kinds of cuisine is important as it helps you understand what each client wants and having a passion for food makes work more fun for the photographer!
The job of food photographer does not involve being on the move; instead, it involves spending a lot time on a shoot, adjusting the composition of each photograph to get it as good as possible. Food photographers work alongside food stylists, prop stylists and art directors, so it is important to have good communication skills. Because most food photographers work freelance and they are hired by different clients for short periods of time – pay varies greatly. To attract new clients most food photographers maintain a portfolio of their work. While this job does not necessarily provide a steady income, it offers amazing opportunities for being creative and meeting lots of different people.
Food packaging designers create the packaging that food is sold in, making it appeal to shoppers and attract their attention. Packaging designers have to complete market research in order to understand what appeals to a particular target market. This sort of job is perfect for creative people, with visual minds and a love of food.
Food packaging designers must be able to use design software like Adobe Illustrator and having a degree in graphic design or marketing is vital. As well as being creative, food packaging designers must be able to conduct research and communicate well. Designers work with other professionals, like material engineers, to make sure their packaging protects its product. They have to be happy pitching their ideas to clients or other company members like food photographers. It is a good idea for food packaging designers to maintain portfolios of their work and be willing to do freelance jobs to build up their experience. They can either freelance short-term for particular companies or they work permanently for large companies, like supermarkets and department stores. Permanent employees can expect regular hours and an average salary of £27000 – £35000.
Warehouse managers organise the reception and delivery of products in a warehouse. On a day-to-day basis, warehouse managers have to track stock levels and manage the warehouse space. They work with suppliers and manage their own team of warehouse operatives. It is a job that suits hard working, highly organised people.
There are no formal requirements for the job, however qualifications in distribution work (such as a foundation degree in logistics) can help with getting onto a management training scheme. Experience working in retail or as a warehouse operative is also very useful. Warehouse managers must be good at using databases and planning, as well as managing and motivating their teams of staff. Warehouse managers often work shifts, taking on 35-45 hours per week. They can expect to work evenings and weekends, especially during busy periods like Christmas. Starting salaries average £18,000 to £22,000 but more experienced warehouse managers can earn up to £40,000. This is a good job for those who want to progress up the career ladder, as good warehouse managers can be promoted to become regional or national operations managers.