Food manufacturing: industry sector overview
The food manufacturing sector is huge and comprises large global players as well as national and regional organisations, many with well-recognised brands. Products range from crisps and confectionery to beverages and convenience foods. Engineers are an essential link in the chain of managing processes, people, equipment, supply and distribution to make sure high quality food makes it to the consumer.
Trends and developments in food manufacturing
Food producers strive for continuous improvement and the move towards automating more processes will challenge engineers to optimise production to deliver volume, but maintain consistent quality. Make sure you are aware of what is going on in the sector as a whole. Many of the large global players are consolidating their operations. Keep up to date with who is buying whom by reading the business pages of national papers.
Skills graduate engineers need to get a job in food manufacturing
There are opportunities for all kinds of engineers in food manufacturing, but chemical, electrical, electronics, manufacturing and mechanical engineering are the more typical backgrounds. An analytical approach and problem-solving ability are essential, as are interpersonal skills and leadership qualities. Many of the larger employers run graduate schemes, which provide graduates with excellent training and opportunities to experience working in different areas of the food manufacturing business. Work experience in the sector is highly recommended to get a taste for that working in the sector involves.
Best and worst aspects of a career in the food manufacturing industry
There are many different career opportunities as you progress, and global companies may also offer opportunities to work overseas. It’s also great to be involved in making products you can relate to. However, there can be tough decisions to make in how to take a process forward or solve a problem, and hours can be unsociable if you are working a late shift in the factory.