Food Science Job Types - Nutrition Scientist

What is a Nutrition Scientist?

A nutrition scientist in the food industry is someone who works in the R&D department who provides the expertise in nutrition and health. They are expected to keep up to date with scientific literature, while providing expertise in their field of study. Those areas of study could be heart health, diabetes, pediatric nutrition, inflammatory disease, etc.  They participate in the development and support of nutrition science based strategies and guidelines. They identify and propose marketing opportunities based on sound nutrition science. They are responsible for providing the back-up data to any nutrition claims made on the Company’s products, With this, they are the liaison to universities or CRO’s (Clinical Research Organizations) who perform the clinical research, writing the protocols, managing the outside research groups, oversee the study including its timeline and budget, and they in turn evaluate the completed study to determine whether or not it is applicable to the Company’s products. They develop scientifically supportable positions and guidance, based on this data and other scientific literature, to guide innovation and marketing teams on early concept development. They work together with marketing, marketing research, quality and product development to find innovative nutrition based product solutions.

Along with this, they provide nutrition support to the communications team for press releases. They participate in influencing professional nutrition societies and editorial boards. They attend scientific conferences and present scientific papers.

What are the qualifications?

To be qualified for a Nutrition Scientist role, the candidate generally needs an MS or PhD degree in human nutrition, nutritional biochemistry, nutritional epidemiology, behavioral science or other related scientific fields. Many times an RD (Registered Dietician) is required as well. With an RD, they have worked as an intern in an industrial setting, (hospital, or cafeteria, etc.) which provides some industry experience.

OPUS Comments

We are seeing more and more of these openings with major food manufacturers.  Consumers are demanding healthy and nutritious products. No longer are the consumers satisfied with ‘lite’ or ‘natural’ claims.  Food must be tasty but ‘good for you’ and add value to the diet. As a result, there is more need for the food companies to substantiate their claims with scientific research.

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