Why Choose a Career in Food?

We need people with all kinds of backgrounds and skills working in food, and whether you’re a genius or a hard grafter, I know first-hand that this industry has never been more dynamic. This generation and the next will make the biggest impact on the food industry we’ve ever seen.

Jamie Oliver

Here are 4 reasons it is an absolute no-brainer to choose food as a career:

1. Meaningful Work

Who hasn’t heard Hippocrates famous quote ‘let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food’? Now more than ever this resonates with people as more research goes into what goes into our food and the detrimental effect to our health and the environment.

The next generation are committed to questioning how manufacturers produce the food that ends up in our grocery bags and subsequently on our plates. Likewise, foodservice are being held to a higher standard, and its not going to get any easier to produce cheaper, unhealthy options–quite the opposite.

We need socially conscious, passionate lovers of food (and the planet) to be at the forefront.

There are so many options available from Food Scientist to Corporate Chef, Food Safety, Regulatory Affairs to Sales and Marketing. The possibilities are endless and the career purpose driven, meaningful and most of all revolutionary.

2. Food is Fun and the People are Too!

Millennials love food, they love to eat out and crave new dining experiences. Living in such a technological society its rewarding to break something down and create something new–food allows anyone and everyone to do that.

There is such a range of emotions attached to food, it meets our basic need to nourish our bodies but can also catapult us to a euphoric state. There’s no doubt about it–food is fun. Having worked with people from this industry for 10 years and a whole lifetime before that in the restaurant world in the UK, I would add that the industry attracts certain people, the fun ones!

In my experience the industry is swarming with ‘down to earth’ personalities who exhibit superior work ethic and have a huge sense of pride in what they do for a living.

3. Job Security

An average of 35,400 new U.S. graduates with expertise in food, agriculture, renewable natural resources, or the environment are expected to fill 61% of the expected 57,900 average openings…

The food industry is one of the largest on the planet and we are always going to need to eat. Regardless of your entry point (Engineering, HR, Marketing, Food Science) choosing food ensures a long term career.

When you think about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, where is food?  Yep, right there with the few other basic needs humans need to live. I’d call that job security!

Jobs will change and evolve due to new technology and innovation but there will always be a need for the industry to thrive. Sure there will be layoffs, plant closures (like in any industry) however, become a subject matter expert in a niche industry like food & beverage and you will be safe.

Ensure you constantly keep your skills and experience current, continue to learn and grow. Be adaptable to the inevitable change and remember food industry skills are transferable. Be open minded and enjoy the adventure!

There are so many options available in food. Retail, foodservice, food processing, agribusiness, wholesale and distribution, regulations, technology, research, the list goes on. There is something for everyone one way or another and cross functional opportunities are plentiful.

4. Travel

The food industry is global and many major food organizations have offices and plants in several countries. There are a number of exciting jobs where travel is necessary.

If you aspire to work for one of the largest food organizations–Danone, Coca Cola, General Mills, Kelloggs, Mars. Mondelez International, Nestle, Pepsico and Unilever to name a few–the opportunities for travel are there for the taking and are often required for promotion.

Research and new technologies also require travel in many cases. In addition, there are positions related to the food industry that open the door to travel.

Right now, in the UK and around the world, this business is at the heart of some really exciting innovations, and as so much of the industry is focused on doing the right thing for farmers’, land, the planet and, of course, consumers, it really is a wonderful time to be starting out.

Jamie Oliver

If you are interested to learn more about a specific career in food leave a comment below. What are you waiting for, your food career awaits!  If you are interested, you can read my ‘Why’ here.

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