Food analyst


Food analysts perform standardised tests to determine the chemical, physical, or microbiological features of products for human consumption.

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to food analyst:

food researcher
food research specialist
food analysis expert
food analysis specialist

Minimum qualifications

A bachelor’s degree in food science and technology, biology, chemistry, or a related field is generally the minimum required to work as a food analyst. Naturally, a master’s degree in any of these discipline is an asset..

ISCO skill level

ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:

  • the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
  • the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
  • the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.

Food analyst is a Skill level 3 occupation.

Food analyst career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to food analyst.

food safety inspector
food regulatory advisor
food technician
food production planner
dairy processing technician

Long term prospects

These occupations require some skills and knowledge of food analyst. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of food analyst with a significant experience and/or extensive training.

botanicals specialist
food and beverage packaging technologist
food technologist
prepared meals nutritionist
food production engineer

Essential knowledge and skills

Essential knowledge

This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of food analyst.

  • Food safety principles: Scientific background of food safety which includes preparation, handling, and storage of food to minimise the risk of foodborne illness and other health hazards.
  • Food toxicity: The causes of food poisoning and spoilage, and the preservation methods of food products so as to prevent toxicity from customers.
  • Food science: The study of the physical, biological, and chemical makeup of food and the scientific concepts underlying food processing and nutrition.
  • Ingredient threats: Ingredients  and potential risks which could damage humans, the flora and the fauna. Functions in ingredient formulas.
  • Pathogenic microorganisms in food: The identification and characteristics of pathogenic micro-organisms in food and the adequate prevention methods to inhibit its reproduction in food materials.
  • Quality assurance methodologies: Quality assurance principles, standard requirements, and the set of processes and activities used for measuring, controlling and ensuring the quality of products and processes.
  • Laboratory-based sciences: Laboratory based sciences such as biology, chemistry, physics, integrated science or advanced laboratory science.
  • Food safety standards: Food safety standards (i.e. ISO 22000) developed by the recognised organisations for Standardization dealing with food safety. For example, the ISO 22000 international standard specifies the requirements for an effective food safety management system. It covers interactive communication, system management, prerequisite programs and HACCP principles.

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of food analyst.

  • Assess nutritional characteristics of food: Assess nutritional characteristics of food for human consumption for a better healthy diet.
  • Pursue excellence in the creation of food products: Try to develop food products in their most qualitative form possible.
  • Keep food laboratory inventory: Monitor stocks of food analysis laboratories. Order supplies to keep laboratories well furnished.
  • Set quality assurance objectives: Define quality assurance targets and procedures and see to their maintenance and continued improvement by reviewing targets, protocols, supplies, processes, equipment and technologies for quality standards.
  • Maintain laboratory equipment: Clean laboratory glassware and other equipment after use and inspect it for damage or corrosion in order to ensure its proper functioning.
  • Ensure public safety and security: Implement the relevant procedures, strategies and use the proper equipment to promote local or national security activities for the protection of data, people, institutions, and property.
  • Collect samples for analysis: Collect samples of materials or products for laboratory analysis.
  • Report test findings: Report test results with a focus on findings and recommendations, differentiating results by levels of severity. Include relevant information from the test plan and outline the test methodologies, using metrics, tables, and visual methods to clarify where needed.
  • Apply HACCP: Apply regulations regarding manufacture of food and food safety compliance. Employ food safety procedures based on Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP).
  • Measure pH: Measuring pH which is a measure of acidity or alkalinity.
  • Attend to detail regarding food and beverages: Perform great attention to all steps in the creation and the presentation of a qualitative product.
  • Analyse samples of food and beverages: Examine if food or beverages are safe for human consumption. Verify the right levels of key ingredients and the correctness of the label declarations and the levels of nutrients present. Ensure samples of food and beverages comply to specific standards or procedures.
  • Blend food ingredients: Blend, mix or cultivate ingredients to make reagents or to manufacture food or beverage products and to carry the analysis that goes along with it.
  • Conduct food tests: Conduct tests and inspections of processes, services and products to evaluate quality or performance. Describe and analyse components of food raw materials or already manufactured products.
  • Calibrate laboratory equipment: Calibrate laboratory equipment by comparing between measurements: one of known magnitude or correctness, made with a trusted device and a second measurement from another piece of laboratory equipment. Make the measurements in as similar a way as possible.
  • Perform physico-chemical analysis to food materials: Performs a range of physical and chemical analysis to food materials in order to assess their quality.
  • Follow laboratory manuals: Follow laboratory manuals, documents with industry jargon, phrases and diagrams, allowing a quality controller to easily read and interpret these documents.
  • Follow hygienic procedures during food processing: Ensure a clean working space according to hygienic standards in the food processing industry.
  • Apply requirements concerning manufacturing of food and beverages: Apply and follow national, international, and internal requirements quoted in standards, regulations and other specifications related with manufacturing of food and beverages.
  • Apply GMP: Apply regulations regarding manufacture of food and food safety compliance. Employ food safety procedures based on Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP).
  • Prepare visual data: Prepare charts and graphs in order to present data in a visual manner.
  • Assess quality characteristics of food products: Assess quality characteristics of food products in terms of the main properties (e.g. physical, sensorial, chemical, technological, etc.) for raw materials, half-finished products, as well as finish products.
  • Identify the factors causing changes in food during storage: recognize the most relevant factors (chemical, physical, environmental etc) that can alter the food during its storage
  • Analyse characteristics of food products at reception: Analyse characteristics, composition, and other properties of food products at reception.
  • Keep up-to-date with regulations: Maintain up-to-date knowledge of current regulations and apply this knowledge in specific sectors.
  • Interpret data in food manufacturing: Interpret data from different sources, like market data, scientific papers, and customers requirements in order to research development and innovation in food sector.
  • Preserve samples: Preserve collected and labelled samples of raw materials and other food products. Preserve samples applying chemical or physical methods.

Optional knowledge and skills

Optional knowledge

This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of food analyst. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Food products composition: Chemical and nutritional composition of food products, which enables the modification of existing products and processes and the development of new ones.
  • Food legislation: Legislation related to the food and feed industry including food manufacturing, hygiene, safety, raw materials, additives, GMOs, labelling, environmental and trade regulations.
  • Fermentation processes of food: Conversion of carbohydrates into alcohol and carbon dioxide. This process happens using bacteria or yeasts, or a combination of the two under anaerobic conditions. Food fermentation is also involved in the process of leavening bread and the process of producing lactic acid in foods such as dry sausages, sauerkraut, yogurt, pickles, and kimchi.
  • Statistics: The study of statistical theory, methods and practices such as collection, organisation, analysis, interpretation and presentation of data. It deals with all aspects of data including the planning of data collection in terms of the design of surveys and experiments in order to forecast and plan work-related activities.
  • Risks associated to physical, chemical, biological hazards in food and beverages: Interpretation of laboratory tests for parameters affecting food safety taking into account risks associated with physical, chemical, and biological hazards in food and beverages.
  • Food homogenisation: The procedures, machines and reciped used to mix different foodstuffs and solutions by transforming them through high pressure and acceleration processes into an uniform fluid or product. 

Optional skills and competences

These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of food analyst. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Develop new food products: Conduct experiments, produce sample products, and perform research as part of new food product development (NPD).
  • Perform sensory evaluation: Evaluate the quality of a given type of food or beverage based on its appearance, smell, taste, aroma, and others. Suggest possible improvements and comparisons with other products.
  • Develop standard operating procedures in the food chain: Develop Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) in the food chain based on the production feedback. Understand current operating procedures and identify best techniques. Develop new procedures and update existing ones.
  • Detect microorganisms: Use various laboratory methods and tools such as gene amplification and sequencing to detect and identify microorganisms such as bacteria and fungi in soil, air, and water samples.
  • Analyse packaging requirements: Analyses packaging requirement against the design of the production plan. Perform the analysis considering engineering, economic, ergonomic, and other perspectives.
  • Follow-up lab results: Analyse lab results and apply them by adapting the production process. Report, review and take appropriate measures if necessary.
  • Check quality of products on the production line: Check products for quality on the production line and remove defective items before and after packaging.
  • Perform microbiological analysis in the food chain: Perform analysis to detect different types of microorganisms, such as bacteria, moulds and yeasts in the food chain.
  • Analyse trends in the food and beverage industries: Investigate trends in foodstuffs related to consumers preferences. Examine key markets based on both product type and geography as well as technological improvements in the industry.
  • Check bottles for packaging: Check bottles for packaging. Apply bottle testing procedures to verify if the bottle is fit for containing food and beverage products. Follow legal or company specifications for bottling.
  • Follow evaluation procedures of materials at reception: Oversee the delivery of incoming materials and follow a detailed procedure to evaluate and assess their characteristics accordingly.
  • Participate in the development of new food products: Participate in the development of new food products together within a cross-functional team. Bring technical knowledge and perspective to the development of new products. Perform research. Interpret results for food product development.
  • Apply scientific methods: Apply scientific methods and techniques to investigate phenomena, by acquiring new knowledge or correcting and integrating previous knowledge.
  • Assess food samples: Assess samples from a range of sources to draw analyses. For example, microorganisms detection, chemical analysis, and parasitological analysis.
  • Write work-related reports: Compose work-related reports that support effective relationship management and a high standard of documentation and record keeping. Write and present results and conclusions in a clear and intelligible way so they are comprehensible to a non-expert audience.
  • Monitor developments used for food industry: Identifying and exploring developments and innovation in technology and materials in the food industry.
  • Perform food safety checks: Carry out food safety checks in order to assure compliance with requirements, regulations, and other good food manufacturing practices.
  • Assess environmental parameters at the workplace for food products: Assess environmental parameters such as temperature and humidity at the workplace for food products. Assure suitable conditions for production processes, plants, laboratories, as well as storages.
  • Investigate customer complaints: Investigate customer complaints in order to determine the non-satisfactory elements in food products that lead to complaints from customers.
  • Assess shelf life of food products: Assess the shelf life of food products in a range of storage and packaging conditions.
  • Mitigate waste of resources: Evaluate and identify opportunities to use resources more efficiently with continuously striving to reduce waste of utilities.
  • Perform food risk analysis: Perform food risks analysis for food safety assurance.
  • Label samples: Label raw material/ product samples for laboratory checks, according to implemented quality system.
  • Analyse work-related written reports: Read and comprehend job-related reports, analyse the content of reports and apply findings to daily work operations.

ISCO group and title

3111 – Chemical and physical science technicians

  1. Food analyst – ESCO
Last updated on February 12, 2023