2 min read

Having spent a few years in the food industry and taken some time to study the industry, the following are my top 10 areas of concentration for a thriving career in the food industry.

I think you will find this topic even more useful if you're thinking of switching careers from another industry to food or a recent Food Science and Technology graduate.

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  • ๐—™๐—ผ๐—ผ๐—ฑ ๐—ฆ๐—ฎ๐—ณ๐—ฒ๐˜๐˜†: If it's not safe, then it's not food. Food safety cannot be overemphasized because human lives depend on it. Food every operation or step about to be undertaken, ask yourself, "is this process or product going to give us finished product that is safe?" When in doubt, microbiological analysis is there to answer the question.
  • ๐—™๐—ผ๐—ผ๐—ฑ ๐—ค๐˜‚๐—ฎ๐—น๐—ถ๐˜๐˜†: Food safety is a quality attribute. However, there are other subjective quality indices such as colour, taste, mouth feel, appearance, shape, size, etc. Consumers have their quality requirements and it is your duty to meet them.
  • ๐—ฃ๐—ฟ๐—ผ๐—ฑ๐˜‚๐—ฐ๐˜๐—ถ๐—ผ๐—ป ๐—ฃ๐—ฟ๐—ผ๐—ฐ๐—ฒ๐˜€๐˜€ ๐—ฃ๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐—ณ๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐—บ๐—ฎ๐—ป๐—ฐ๐—ฒ: It is your duty to study the process line and the performance of the raw materials, intermediate and finished products on the process line. A lot of manufacturing issues can be solved when the knowledge of process performance is topnotch. Relate with the engineers and machine operators to understand the interaction of machines with different products or same products from different suppliers on the process line.
  • ๐—Ÿ๐—ฒ๐—ฎ๐—ป ๐— ๐—ฎ๐—ป๐˜‚๐—ณ๐—ฎ๐—ฐ๐˜๐˜‚๐—ฟ๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด: A leaner production is the hidden value that all manufacturers are striving to unlock. No business thrives on waste! Lean manufacturing abhors waste. Always think of the acronym DOWNTIME when you think of lean. DOWNTIME stands for Downtime, Overproduction, Waiting, Non-utilized talent, Transportation excess, Inventory excess, Motion excess, Excess processing.

Click Here to Join the Over 1000 Students Taking our Highly Rated Courses on Quality Assurance/Quality Control, Food Safety, Lean Six Sigma, Lean Manufacturing, Six Sigma, ISO 9001, ISO 14001, ISO 22000, ISO 45001, FSSC 22000, Product Development etc. on UDEMY.

  • ๐—ฅ๐—ผ๐—ผ๐˜ ๐—–๐—ฎ๐˜‚๐˜€๐—ฒ ๐—”๐—ป๐—ฎ๐—น๐˜†๐˜€๐—ถ๐˜€: As long as it's a manufacturing process, problems will surely arise. Sooner or later, you will have problems on your hands and the only way to get out of it will be to identify the root cause(s) and nip it/them in the bud. Don't solve problems at the periphery, find the root cause(s).
  • ๐—ฅ๐—ฎ๐˜„ ๐—บ๐—ฎ๐˜๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐—ถ๐—ฎ๐—น ๐—ฎ๐—ป๐—ฑ ๐—ณ๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ถ๐˜€๐—ต๐—ฒ๐—ฑ ๐—ด๐—ผ๐—ผ๐—ฑ๐˜€ ๐—ต๐—ฎ๐—ป๐—ฑ๐—น๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด/๐˜€๐˜๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐—ฎ๐—ด๐—ฒ: If raw materials are not properly handled/stored in the warehouse, you run the risk of using compromised materials for production and that is the beginning of greater problems to come. I like to think that raw materials and of course finished goods are like babies and as such must be handled with utmost care.
  • ๐—ฆ๐˜๐—ผ๐—ฐ๐—ธ ๐—ฅ๐—ผ๐˜๐—ฎ๐˜๐—ถ๐—ผ๐—ป: FIFO (First in first out) and FEFO (First expiry first out) stock rotation must be adopted when moving raw and packaging materials to production and when moving finished products to trade to avoiding the risk of having products with near expiry or best before still in stock. The arrangement of stock in the warehouse should be such that permits this stock rotation process without any breaches.
  • ๐—”๐˜‚๐—ฑ๐—ถ๐˜๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด ๐—ฎ๐—ป๐—ฑ ๐—ถ๐—ป๐˜€๐—ฝ๐—ฒ๐—ฐ๐˜๐—ถ๐—ผ๐—ป: this entails verification to ensure compliance to requirements in the product or process. Gaps if present should be identified during auditing and they should be closed as quickly as possible.
  • ๐—•๐˜‚๐˜€๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ฒ๐˜€๐˜€ ๐—–๐—ผ๐—ป๐˜๐—ถ๐—ป๐˜‚๐—ถ๐˜๐˜†: Manufacturing is first of all a business and it is important that the business continues. Have the ownership mindset. Make your job your own and ensure that your tasks are executed timely for the sake of business continuity.
  • ๐—›๐˜‚๐—บ๐—ฎ๐—ป ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐—น๐—ฎ๐˜๐—ถ๐—ผ๐—ป๐˜€: No matter your temperament, you must relate and interact with people if you're in the food industry. Most of the time, you will need people to execute their job and pass on to you and you will also need to pass on to others. I think our job role in the food industry is more like a chain reaction, intertwined so to speak. Supply chain, Production, Engineering, Quality, Procurement, we are all related. Therefore, learn to work with people. Together Everyone Achieves More.

About the Author

Chidinma Ezinne Ochulor is a certified Food Technologist, a quality assurance professional with over 3 years' experience. She is a professional member of the Nigerian Institute of Food Science and Technology (NIFST). Reach her on LinkedIn, here

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