Press Releases

There are 45,000 science jobs in feeding the world, safely and healthily – University of Reading

Release Date : 21 October 2009

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As the BBC food science series, Jimmy's Food Factory, hits our screens tonight, job prospects for food scientists and food technologists in the UK are excellent, according to advisors to the series, the leading Food and Nutritional Science department based at the University of Reading.

Professor Bob Rastall of the University of Reading said: "At a time when there has never been so much public interest in the importance of food, the UK food industry is still crying out for qualified food scientists and technologists. We are delighted that the BBC commissioned a series to demystify the science behind the food we eat and hope it will serve to inspire the next generation of food scientists."

Employment projections suggest the UK food and drink industry will need around 137,000 new recruits over the next decade with 45,000 of those jobs requiring high skill levels¹. The number of applicants for roles as qualified food scientists and technologists or nutritionists is in decline while the number of students studying food science at universities and further education colleges has also fallen as fewer school children choose science and technology based subjects?.

Professor Rastall continued: "The work of food scientists and technologists touches so many aspects of our relationship with food. Careers in food science will have a positive impact on the health and well-being of the nation, through the ready availability of good quality food. Future food scientists will be the guardians of the safety of the food we eat. They will be working on food security, conduct research on how the food we eat impacts on our health as well as advising food companies on the development of new products linked to optimal nutrition.

"Over the next decade, we will need tens of thousands of skilled food scientists to respond to the challenges we face in feeding the world safely and healthily. These men and women will have food science and food technology degrees and will be the foot soldiers in ensuring we produce enough of the right stuff to keep us alive!"

The University's department of Food and Nutritional Science advised the BBC on the scientific principles behind many of the food technology experiments being conducted as part of the series.


Further information from Alex Brannen, University of Reading, on 0118 378 7388

Notes to editors:

The University of Reading's Department of Food and Nutritional Sciences is an acknowledged world authority in areas as diverse as human nutrition, food chemistry, chemical engineering, microbiology and food law. The University also has a large number of academics researching in areas such as food chain and health, flavour and taste.

The University of Reading's Department of Food and Nutritional Sciences has the largest food processing pilot plant of its kind in the UK. It is used in the teaching of undergraduate and postgraduate students, as well as for research purposes. It mirrors the equipment used in the food industry and includes pasteurisers, filtering and sieving equipment, ultrafiltration, canning, evaporators, spray driers, freeze driers, high pressure processing, packaging machinery and many dairy processes.

The University of Reading offers the following undergraduate programmes:-

BSc Food Science

BSc Food Science with Business

BSc Food Technology

BSC Nutrition and Food Science

More information at

¹Statistics from Improve, the food and drink sector skills council

Jimmy's Food Factory is broadcast on BBC1 at 7:30pm, from 21 October.


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