Most companies involved in food and beverage processing or manufacturing employ food scientists. Major sectors in Alberta's food processing industry include:
- meat and poultry slaughter and processing
- dairy processing
- cereal grains and their products (including flour, cereal, pasta and snack foods)
- bakery and confectionery goods
- vegetable oil refining and product manufacturing
- soft drink manufacturing
- brewing, winemaking and distilling
- vegetable processing
- sugar manufacturing
- specialty foods manufacturing.
Food scientists may work in research and development, quality assurance, inspection, management, or production or processing areas (in food plants). Retail food chains employ food scientists to develop food safety programs.
Food scientists also may be employed in the Public Administration or Educational Services industries, or work overseas as consultants with international food agencies, such as the World Health Organization (WHO), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), PLENTY Canada or Global Affairs Canada.
Most new graduates start work as technicians, often in junior positions. Once they have gained experience, they can move into:
- supervisory or administrative levels of quality assurance, inspection and regulation
- production management trainee positions leading to plant supervisory positions
- marketing and sales
- new product development, and process research and development
- regulatory positions with federal and provincial government agencies.
Food scientists employed by federal and provincial government agencies may advance from laboratory technician positions to scientist or supervisory positions. A master's degree may be required for advancement.
Research and teaching positions in post-secondary schools generally require a doctoral degree, particularly in universities.