Jul 4, 2017

Considering a career in Food Manufacturing? Where to start and what to know…

The food and drink manufacturing industry is the single largest manufacturing sector in the UK, with an annual turnover of £95 billion. It employs over 400,000 people which represent around 14% of the total manufacturing workforce in the UK. The food and drink industry also invests a lot into research and development resulting in around 10,000 new products being introduced to the market each year.

One thing is certainly clear from the statistics over the last few years, the industry will continue to grow and will constantly need new talent to enter the game and change things up. So, if you are considering a career in the food industry you’re definitely in for a treat.

However, there can be tough decisions to make when taking the process forward. Hours can be unsociable, you may not be passionate about the product and company culture might not be for you. Though, with the likes of Walkers, Cadbury’s, Aunt Bessie’s, Coca-Cola and Nestle being some of the possible companies you could be a part of, with hundreds of new exciting upcoming businesses to choose from too. This gives you a lot more freedom and enables you to be particularly stringent in the process and ultimately choose a company that is right for you.

Over the last 14 years of food manufacturing recruitment, D R Newitt has developed a huge understanding of the food industry. We’ve built strong, unique and long lasting relationships with our clients, which has allowed us to gain a deeper understanding of what a career in the food industry would really be like. We regularly have factory tours and are able to see first-hand how the final product is achieved.

To reach the final product, there is an extremely efficient system put in place from new product development to the supply chain industry and of course everything in between.


So you are passionate about food. Great! The next step is to look at all the possible disciplines within the food industry…

New Product Development

NPD is the process of bringing a new product to the market. This process requires an in-depth knowledge of nutrition, knowledge of ingredients, processing techniques, packaging materials, legislation and consumer needs. Food manufacturers have to keep up with competitors so are always looking for creative individuals who can top the market with a new innovative product.

Job titles include:

  • Development Assistant
  • Development Chef
  • New Product Development Manager


All food manufacturing factories need engineers, whether that’s electrical, mechanical or multi-skilled. Some factories work 24/7 and to ensure the factory is working at its full potential, engineers must be present on site at all times.  They are also in huge demand so, you will find companies crying out for highly skilled individuals all over the country.

Job titles include:

  • Engineering Manager
  • Engineering Section Leader
  • Maintenance Co-ordinator


Sales positions in the food and beverage in the food industry are put in place to build relationships with new clients and develop relationships even further with existing food manufacturers. They are also target driven so a competitive nature is ideal.  You will also be confident and have an extensive knowledge of different food & drink manufacturers and of course the product you’re selling.

Job titles include:

  • National Account Manager
  • Category Manager
  • Commercial Manager


Marketing positions within the food industry ensure the company stays one step ahead of the consumer and more importantly the competition. Marketer’s need to build relationships with customers through engaging content and campaigns, whilst developing marketing strategies and effectively managing the department’s budget.

Job titles include:

  • Digital Marketing Assistant
  • Brand Manager
  • Marketing Executive

Technical & Quality

All food manufactures and retails rely on their technical teams to ensure 100% compliance with food legislation and regulations are met.  The Technical teams are closely related to quality roles as both job aspects feature in both. To be successful in a technical role, knowledge of GMP’s BRC and HACCP are essential. You will ensure high standards of satisfaction are met and continuously look into how procedures could be improved.

Job titles include:

  • Hygiene Operative
  • Process Manager
  • Technical Co-ordinator

Supply Chain & Logistics

The Supply Chain department are involved in the food manufacturing process every step of the way. From the Buyers who select the finest ingredients that go into the end product to the Delivery Drivers who bring the goods to your door. The aim of any successful Supply Chain department is to ensure that customers or consumers get what they want when they want it. The Supply Planning Department are responsible for analysing consumer trends and ensuring OTIF (on time in full) delivery of that product at all times.

A complex but exciting department that is just as likely to have you up to your eyes in spreadsheets as it is to have you putting on a hard hat and a high visibility vest.

Job titles include:

  • Supply chain manager
  • Logistics Controller
  • Warehouse Operative

 Production & Operations

When working within production and operations for the food industry you are responsible for the daily coordination, improvement and execution of all food manufacturing operations. As a manager, you will be responsible for quality control, maintenance and are also accountable for cost management including equipment and waste. At times, there will be extreme pressure as you work towards daily KPI’s, so the ability to think on your feet is essential.

Job titles include:

  • Continuous Improvement Manager
  • Operations Team Leader
  • Production Manager


The food manufacturing industry is ever changing and always needs people like you to be a part of it. It needs passionate and entrepreneurial individuals who are willing to pioneer the industry and take it to new levels. Because the food industry is ever changing, you will also need to be a self-starter who can identify new ideas and implement them throughout the business.

So, other than a diverse, exciting, fast paced environment, why should you consider a career in the food industry?

Growth & Opportunities

The food manufacturing industry has been through some tough times searching for skilled workers. Even now the industry will need 140,000 new recruits by 2024 according to the FDF. Many food companies are starting every year which gives many opportunities to be a part of something great.

Routes for Progression and Pay

As you know food and drink is the UK’s largest manufacturing sector and offers exciting career prospects. The industry will always need a steady pipeline of employees to take their business forward. The average salary in the food manufacturing industry is rising faster than any other major manufacturing sector. For example, the average salary for graduate engineers is now £27,00 and will rise with each year within the company.

Transferable Skills

Being a part of the food industry also allows you to learn a wide range of new skills, covering, logical thinking, creativity, teamwork, leadership, good communication and an analytical approach. These skills make candidates highly sought after by employers and are relevant across all industries so you are not bound by one sector. You will also have the chance to utilise these skills in the future and transfer them skills into a new job.


Working Environment

Working environments will vary greatly depending on the type of food being processed and the type of food being stored on the premises. For example, some bakery employees spend much of their shifts near ovens that can be uncomfortably hot. In contrast, those working for chilled or frozen food processors will have to contend with cold stores, chills and freezing areas.

Health & Safety

Whatever job you are doing, there is always the possibility of an accident or damage to someone’s health. When working in a manufacturing environment you will be around potential hazards daily, be they: loads which have to be manually handled, dangerous machinery, toxic substances, electricity or even psychological hazards such as stress. This will require a complete understanding of heath safety procedures which will be provided by the factory.

Dress Protocol

The importance of the correct protective clothing policy cannot be over stressed. People are a major potential source of foreign body contamination (hairs, skin scales, threads and buttons from clothing, etc). It is therefore essential that individuals working in the food and drink industries are aware of this risk and wear the appropriate clothing in the food production area.



Understandably the qualifications will vary dependent on the area of the food industry you choose to work for. However, you may be asking, are they needed?

Degrees carry a lot of weight when applying for roles and can fast track you to management level. They are also essential in such areas like engineering and new product development, where a comprehensive understanding of the subject is needed before you start. For example, if you would like a career in a Technical role, a degree in Food Science would be needed to gain access.

It is possible to gain access the food industry without a degree as companies like to organically grow their staff from the ground up. An example of this would be someone applying for an Artisan Baker role. Good GCSEs and maybe a level 2 or 3 diploma in a related qualification such patisserie and cake decoration could gain you access.


It may seem as if skills and experiences are the most important characteristics of an employee, however, attitude plays just as big of a role.

Think about it, what good is great professional skills without the attitude to see them all through?  Resilience, enthusiasm, positivity and self-motivation are all much-needed attributes in succeeding within the food industry.


Let’s face it, we all love food and being part of this global industry will certainly be a rewarding and prosperous career. You may also have the chance of working overseas when a part of the large global companies. As technology advances and trends develop, the food and drink industry will no doubt keep you on your toes. No two days will be the same and as the food industry continues to thrive and continue getting bigger and better, so will you.

Your first steps in starting a career within food and drink, regardless of age or experience are to speak with us. We are happy to answer any questions you may have about possible career paths of any area you are looking to follow.

0131 226 5060 or email register@drnewitt.com.

This site is registered on wpml.org as a development site. Switch to a production site key to remove this banner.

Register with D R Newitt

Ready to get started? Enter your details below and upload you CV opposite to take the next step and let our partnership begin.

Upload CV

Maximum file size - 3MB

Allowed extensions - .doc, .docx, .pdf

We use MailChimp as our marketing automation platform. By subscribing to our newsletter you acknowledge that the information you provide will be transferred to MailChimp for processing in accordance with their Privacy Policy and Terms.

You can change your mind at any time by clicking the unsubscribe link in the footer of any newsletter you receive from us, or by contacting us at register@drnewitt.com