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Graduate Food & Drink Jobs

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          Helping you find a career in food & drink

          Think about your favourite snack. Every bit of it, from the recipe to the packaging has been put together by professionals in the food and drink industry.

          There are lots of career options in the food and drink industry. Whether you're interested in studying the science of food, designing the packaging, or promoting the products, there's bound to be a role for you in the industry.

          Here are some of the areas you could work in:

          • Food tasting
          • Food science
          • Procurement
          • Manufacturing
          • Quality control
          • Sales
          • Marketing
          • HR
          • Finance
          • Buying
          • Management
          Find out more
          • FAQs
          • Jobs by industry
          • Popular companies
          Which skills do I need for a career in the food & drink industry?

          Most jobs in this industry require good teamwork and management skills, which will help you progress to higher roles.

          It's also important to show a lot of motivation and self-discipline, particularly if you need to get further certificates and qualifications.

          What are typical career progression routes in the food & drink industry?

          According to the Food and Drink Federation, 96% of the food and drink sector is made up of small and medium sized enterprises, so there is a lot of opportunity outside of the well-known, multinational food brands.

          The food and drink industry is also great for entrepreneurs, so if you've got a great idea, don't be afraid to drive it forward yourself.

          What career development opportunities are available in the food & drink industry?

          Training will vary as you move up in your career. Training also depends on your role, for example, if you work within HR you might go on coaching or legal courses. This training wouldn't be relevant if you were a designer.

          Look at the training offered by various employers, and see if it matches up with the skills that are needed for the role you want. This will help you determine if the job will help you get to where you want to be.

          How much do food & drink professionals earn?

          Earning potential

          Most head office roles in the food and drink sector, including graduate schemes, start at around £20,000 and increase as you gain experience.

          Average salaries for certain roles within the sector are as follows:

          • Food sales executive - £28,000
          • Production manager - £40,000 - £60,000
          • Project manager - £34,000
          • Buyer - £25,000
          • Food manufacturing analyst - £30,000
          • Brand manager - £35,000 - £45,000
          • Business development manager - £30,000 - £35,000
          • Supply chain and operations manager - £40,000 - £44,000
          What qualifications do I need?

          The qualifications you need will depend on where in the industry you want to work.

          For roles in food science, a degree in a subject like biology, chemistry, food science or nutrition would be helpful.

          If you want an office based role, a degree in business, management or a humanities subject can be useful.

          If your chosen field requires specific skills, you might want to consider a postgraduate degree or diploma, or other relevant certification that can equip you with the knowledge you need.

          How can I get into the industry?

          The essential nature of the food and drink business means there are always opportunities for graduates in this sector.

          You can get involved in a number of areas within the food and drink industry, for example:

          • Food processing
          • Product design
          • Manufacture
          • Sales
          • Transportation/ distribution
          • Marketing
          • Buying
          • Nutrition

          There may also be the opportunity to get on a graduate scheme in the food and drink sector. They can last anywhere between one and three years and give you a structured pattern of work, set goals to reach, and can lead to a permanent job after you complete the scheme.

          Graduate schemes are likely to focus on one specific area of business, e.g. management, finance or marketing, or combine separate areas in order to give you a taste of all areas of work.

          Food & drink industry bodies

          Food Standards Agency
          Food and Drink Federation
          Scottish Food and Drink Federation
          Tasty Careers