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Profile of currently employed European food scientists and technologists: Education, experience and skills
European Association for Food Safety, Belgium.
AINIA Centro Tecnológico, Spain.
RISE, SP – Sveriges Tekniska Forskningsinstitut, SP Sveriges tekniska forskningsinstitut, SIK – Institutet för livsmedelsforskning.
University of Gent, Belgium.
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2013 (English)In: International journal of food studies, E-ISSN 2182-1054, Vol. 2, no 2, p. 137-149Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The food and drink (F & D) sector in Europe ranks low in innovation and the European F & D industry has been losing importance in the global market. The food professionals, i.e., food scientists and technologists (FSTs), may not be meeting the varied demands of the sector. Here, education, experience and skills of current FSTs were identified and compared geographic regions and employment areas. Between 2009 and 2012, 287 questionnaires representing over 4000 FSTs were collected from employers in 16 countries. Analyses showed that more than 80% of FSTs have a university degree; but only in Industry in the Central European region are most degrees in food science/technology. More than half of FSTs, and almost 60% in the South, have less than 10 years' experience. The most common FST job title is Quality Manager, but with several variations based on region and employment area. Among skills, the most common is Communicating; found in over 90% of FSTs in all regions and employment areas. Food Safety is the most common of the food sector-specific skills, present in more than 75% of FSTs, yet there are differences in food sector skills based on employment area. Overall, these data suggest similarities among currently employed food professionals throughout Europe; they are young and highly educated, but also differences, especially in their food sector-specific skills. An understanding of the current FST should contribute to the improvement of FST training and thus benefit the European food sector.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
ISEKI Food Association , 2013. Vol. 2, no 2, p. 137-149
Keywords [en]
Education, Food scientist, Food technologist, Skills, Soft skills, Training
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:ri:diva-49925DOI: 10.7455/ijfs/2.2.2013.a1Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85033364580OAI: oai:DiVA.org:ri-49925DiVA, id: diva2:1484748
Note

Funding details: KBBE 227220; Funding text 1: The authors thank the coordinator of the Track Fast project, Prof. Cristina L.M. Silva of the Catholic University of Portugal College of Biotechnology, for support from the inception through the completion of this study. All the Track Fast partners who translated questionnaires and responses and provided contacts are acknowledged. Finally, all 281 Food & Drink organisations that took the time to complete a questionnaire are warmly thanked for their effort.; Funding text 2: This work was funded by the project ‘TRACK FAST: Training Requirements and Careers for Knowledge-based Food Science and Technology in Europe’ an SP1-Cooperation, Coordination and Support Action, of the Commission of the European Communities Framework 7 Programme, grant agreement number: KBBE 227220. The funders had no role in the details of the study design, data collection, analysis and interpretation; writing of the report; nor decision to publish.

Available from: 2020-10-30 Created: 2020-10-30 Last updated: 2020-12-01Bibliographically approved

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