Imaginative Teaching Resources & Inspirational Career Ideas from the Chilled Food Industry
Roles, career progression, chilled food culture, salaries, graduate schemes and more
Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about chilled careers
To make chilled food needs recipe developers, process technologists, food scientists, packaging technologists, technical managers, microbiologists, hygiene auditors, equipment engineers, commercial and marketing teams, financial managers, laboratory and quality staff and general managers.
Check out more than 20 real chilled job descriptions.
We have more than 20 job descriptions which describe real jobs – what they involve and the skills and knowledge they require.
Chilled food is produced all around the UK, particularly in the east and Midlands. CFA member companies own sites in the France, Ireland, Spain, the Netherlands and USA,
Chilled food is made in the UK for the local (UK) market.
The UK’s chilled prepared food market has increased by nearly 2000% since 1989 and is
worth over £10bn. It is growing at 5% or so each year.
Currently there are more than 200 science degree-requiring vacancies in the sector.
Progression depends on the size and structure of the company, and how hard you work!
In a smaller company, for example, you may get the chance to work in a number of areas
as and when vacancies arise. This allows you build up your expertise and gives you the opportunity to find out where your interests lie. In a larger company you may find more
formal graduate programmes which give you a set period of time in particular areas.
Where you are in 3-5 years’ time really is up to you but a combination of flexibility, hard work and being open to new ideas and challenges has led to some great success stories that you can read about here, including recent graduates in their 20s such as Leon Smith.
Graduate salaries start at around £20-25k but rise rapidly with increased responsibility.
By 30 you could expect to be earning £35k+.
There are four main types of technical roles in chilled food production:
1. Laboratory-based roles assuring the safety and quality of food.
2. Development roles working with food to develop and launch new products.
3. Working in the supply chain with suppliers and customers.
4. Working with teams in factories to help develop good manufacturing practices.
A sound scientific and technical knowledge-base is needed for all, together with excellent interpersonal communications skills. Take a look at our sample job descriptions of real jobs to read more on this. You also need to be open to new challenges and have the flexibility to adapt to changing situations. The chilled food industry is dynamic and many working in it say that no two days are the same.
12,000 different chilled foods are made every day in the UK, supplying the major retailers and other customers.
Chilled food production is therefore very fast-paced (Just In Time), responsive to consumer trends and retail customers’ demands, and presents new opportunities every day to apply your science to ensure the food is tasty, packaged and labelled correctly, is safe and sustainably produced in the right amount as and when it is needed.
There are many opportunities for development, regardless of the level at which you join.
Chilled food manufacturers are always happy to hear from students with something to offer. We have helped secure undergraduate placements, work experience, Nuffield-sponsored projects for ‘A’ Levels students. Get in touch with CFA members directly at any time of the year, specifying your qualifications/course, what your particular interest is and what you are looking for.
Alternatively contact CFA for assistance.
For graduate entry science roles, food science, other biological science or forensics degrees are preferred. Many senior people in the chilled food industry have progressed through other routes including entry with ‘A’ Levels or other non-degree qualifications. Providers of Food Science degree courses and non-degree courses are listed here.