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Where can a food scientist work in Nigeria?

Where can a food scientist work in Nigeria? Have you been bothered with this question before now? Read to the last dot for every detail you need.

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A food scientist determines the taste and stability of foods both for restaurants and for long-term shelf life.

They work on diverse projects that involve creating a variety of food formulas and a lot of hands-on cooking when they’re first starting out.

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Who is a Food Scientist?

Food scientists study the basic components of food. They analyze nutritional content, discover food sources, and develop ways to make processed foods safe and nutritious.

The role of a food scientist is to research, develop and test different ingredients and foods, making sure they are safe for humans to consume.

They use their knowledge of life and physical sciences to create new technologies and methods of food production, processing, and packaging. They also implement regulatory aspects, so that finished products meet the standards of quality and safety as per the food laws and regulations of that country.

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Food scientists use scientific techniques to state correct nutritional information for food labeling; research new methods to keep food fresh and safe for a longer duration; work on processing methodologies to reduce time and cost while maintaining nutrients and quality; ensure that the food is safe and does not have any risk of contamination.

Where can a food scientist work in Nigeria
Where can a food scientist work in Nigeria

What do food scientists do?

Food scientists perform many duties including:

  • Carrying out research to discover easier and less expensive means of food production.
  • Decreasing sugar content in food products.
  • Blending/mixing new ingredients to create new recipes.
  • Develop processes that make large-scale food production easier.
  • Creating better ways to preserve foods, while maintaining their freshness.
  • Develop new or improved ways of preserving, processing, packaging, storing, and delivering foods, using knowledge of chemistry, microbiology, and other sciences.
  • Carrying out tests to determine the safety and quality of manufactured foods.
  • Building machines that assist in producing large quantities of food products.
  • Inspect food processing areas to ensure compliance with government regulations and standards for sanitation, safety, quality, and waste management.
  • Check raw ingredients for maturity or stability for processing, and finished products for safety, quality, and nutritional value.

Where can a food scientist work in Nigeria?

Food scientists work in laboratories, in offices, and in the field. They spend most of their time studying data and reports in a laboratory or an office. Fieldwork includes visits to farms or processing plants.

When visiting a food or animal production facility, agricultural and food scientists must follow biosecurity measures, wear suitable clothing, and tolerate the environment associated with food production processes.

This environment may include noise associated with large production machinery, cold temperatures associated with food production or storage, and close proximity to animal byproducts.

In the private sector, most food scientists work in the R&D departments of food processing companies. Many work in processing plants as quality control inspectors or production supervisors.

Some are involved in teaching and research in universities. Others work in sales or advertising of food products and technologies.

Certain positions may require travel, either domestic, international, or both. The amount of travel can vary widely.

Here in Nigeria, some of the places where a food Scientist can work include:

  • Agro-allied Industries
  • Food/Beverage Industries
  • Research Institutes
  • Government/Private Agencies
  • Health Organizations
  • Hotels
  • Restaurants
  • Universities
  • Wineries
  • Refineries

Practical Examples of such industries include Honeywell Floor Mills Plc, Nestle Nigeria Plc, Unilever Nigeria Plc, Nigerian Breweries Plc, Rite Foods, etc.

Research Institutes include NSPRI, CRIN, FIIRO, and UTA. While agencies like NAFDAC, SON, and FCCPC constitute some government and private-owned institutions.

Where can a food scientist work in Nigeria
Where can a food scientist work in Nigeria

Required skills of a Food scientist

Oral and written Communication skills: Communication skill is critical for agricultural and food scientists.

They must explain their studies extensively and effectively from what they were trying to learn, the methods they used, what they found, and what they think the implications of their findings are. They should also Know how to report meaningful writings and be a skillful record keeper.

Math skills: Food scientists, like many other scientists, must have a sound grasp of mathematical concepts.

Observation skills: Agricultural and food scientists conduct experiments that require precise observation of samples and other data. Any mistake could lead to inconclusive or inaccurate results. They should also have the zeal to conduct research.

Problem-solving Skills: it’s one thing to discover a problem, it’s another to proffer a solution. Food scientists should be problem solvers with good analytical skills.

Possess project management skills: They should Have a good grasp of IT and management and also have mastered a teamwork spirit.

How to Become a food scientist

To become a food Scientist, one needs to

  1. Complete a Bachelor’s Degree Program:

If one has an aim to become a food scientist, they at least need a bachelor’s degree in an area such as food science, chemistry, microbiology, or a related field.

These courses impart students with fundamental principles in food science as well as research techniques. Subjects like human nutrition, food chemistry, food microbiology, food processing, food quality, etc.

  1. Earn an Advanced Degree:

An advanced degree, such as a Master of Science or Ph.D. in Food Science is required for food scientist positions in various government laboratories, and authorities.

A graduate in Food Science can opt for a specialization in food chemistry, manufacturing processes, or engineering for a master’s degree.

The Master’s program is of 2 years and includes research/ project work with a thesis on a topic in food science, nutrition, or biochemistry.

Ph.D. programs may take 3-4 years, with intense research work and thesis and research publications on any current/ upcoming technology, product or packaging, biochemistry, or nutrition.

  1. Attend workshops/certification programs:

One can always earn better opportunities by upgrading the knowledge with various short-term workshops or certification courses like ISO, HACCP, regulatory, or recent technologies by various universities or government authorities.

Certification is based on successfully completing a qualifying exam. Interested individuals can also take advantage of online study.

Conclusion

Food scientists conduct experiments to improve the safety of foods, increase the number of days they can stay edible, enrich the taste of foods, and even add to the nutritional benefits of the things we eat.

Since feeding is a habit that is common to us all, pursuing a career in Food Science and Technology is not a bad idea at all. It is lucrative and will remain relevant.

So, if you happen to be a foodie, and you are naturally curious about the science of food production, you should start considering a career in the field.

With the list of different places you can work as a food scientist in Nigeria, you can go ahead now and study your course without fear of scarcity of job opportunities.

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