How to Become a Food Packaging Specialist


To become a food packaging specialist, you first need to determine if this career path is a good fit for your skills, interests and personality traits. If the following description sounds like you, then you’re probably well suited for it.


• You have a keen interest in science, food and packaging

• You have a high degree of intellectual curiosity

• You enjoy analyzing data and conducting tests

• You enjoy working as a part of a team that is both creative and technical

• You enjoy using instruments and equipment to perform tasks requiring precision

• You enjoy solving complex problems


Below we've outlined what you'll need to begin a career as a food packaging specialist. We've also included helpful information for this career, such as job description, job duties, salary expectations, a list of possible employers and much more!



Education Needed to Become a Food Packaging Specialist

The educational requirements for working in this field vary by employer, although you typically need to have achieved one of the following levels of education:


• A bachelor’s degree with a science emphasis, preferably in food science, chemistry or engineering

• A bachelor’s degree in packaging technology

• A diploma in packaging, preferably food packaging 





General Job Description

When a new product is created, food packaging specialists are part of a team that determines how to package the product. They must apply their knowledge of food technology to develop and improve packaging designs for various types of foods, including fresh-cut, frozen and pasteurized.


Food packaging specialists are responsible for finding the most ecological and economical options available. Their efforts include qualifying new packaging materials and processing methods, conducting shelf-life studies, and ensuring packaging integrity is suitable for the product’s needs and specifications.



Typical Job Duties & Responsibilities

• Develop the primary and secondary packaging for new food products

• Initiate the qualification of new packaging materials and formats

• Conduct shelf life studies and make recommendations based on findings

• Manage the testing of packaging materials with independent laboratories to ensure packaging integrity meets specifications

• Follow all company food safety protocols and government regulations

• Perform duties in a matter that promotes food safety

• Liaise with senior management in order to ensure that company legal and ethical requirements are adhered to



Skills Needed to Be Successful

To be effective in a career as a food packaging specialist, and perform your job duties with competence, you need to posses a certain set of skills. They skills are also commonly listed on job postings.


• Knowledge of basic budgeting

• Strong leadership skills

• Are able to work as part of a team

• Able to extract, evaluate and utilize data for process improvement from applicable systems

• Thorough knowledge and understanding of the packaging process and maintenance related processes

• Expert knowledge national and regional food safety regulations

• Able to balance needs such ecological, economical, increased shelf life, visual appeal and transportation efficiency





Helpful Personal Characteristics to Have

To enjoy performing the duties involved in this profession, you'll need to have certain personality traits. Taking enjoyment from your duties as a food packaging specialist is important, as it helps you maintain a positive attitude towards your work, which usually leads to having a long and successful career.


• You have a high degree of intellectual curiosity

• You enjoy using instruments and equipment to perform tasks requiring precision

• You enjoy analyzing data and conducting sampling and testing programs

• You enjoy working in a team environment

• You enjoy combining technical and creative work



Typical Salary Level

The salary level of food packaging specialists can vary, depending on factors such as:


• Their level of education

• Their level of experience and aptitude

• The size and type of their employer

• The region in which they work


There is no information available from reliable sources regarding the salary level of "food packaging specialists". We can however, get a good idea of what they earn by looking at the salary level of closely related occupations.


Food Packaging Specialist Salary - United States: According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean annual wage of American workers in the "food scientists and technologists" occupational group is $65,340 per year.


Salary - Canada: According to the 2017 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans working in the "chemical technologists and technicians" occupational group earn an average of between $21.65 to $44.24 per hour. According to the Province of British Columbia, those working in the "biological technologists and technicians" occupational group earn an annual provincial median salary $59,738 per year.



Who Employs Food Packaging Specialists?

Food packaging specialists are typically hired on a full-time or contractual basis by the following types of organizations:


• Meat and poultry slaughter and processing companies

• Dairy processing companies

• Cereal, flour, pasta and snack food manufacturers

• Bakeries and confectionery goods producers

• Vegetable oil refining and vegetable oil product manufacturers

• Soft drink manufacturers and distributors

• Brewers, winemakers and distilleries

• Vegetable processing companies

• Sugar manufacturers

• Specialty foods manufacturers

• Marketing consulting firms



Food Packaging Specialist Jobs - Current Openings

Our job board below has "food packaging specialist" postings in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia.




Work Environment Typical to this Occupation

Food packaging specialists typically work in a combination of laboratory, office and processing plant settings. They often work standards weekday working hours, although they may sometimes work shift work, depending on the needs of their employer.



Similar Occupations in Our Database

Listed below are careers in our database that are similar in nature to "food packaging specialist", as they may involve many of the same skills, competencies and responsibilities.


Biological Technologist

Food and Drug Inspector

Food Process Engineer

Food Production Manager

Food Technologist




Please consult the references below to find more information on the various aspects of a career as a food packaging specialist.


Occupations in Alberta:Food Scientist.” (March 31, 2019). ALIS website - Alberta Learning Information Service. Retrieved November 25, 2019.

Occupational Employment & Wages:Food Scientists and Technologists.” (September 4, 2019). Occupational Outlook Handbook - United States Bureau of Labor Statistics website. Retrieved November 25, 2019.

Maintenance Jobs:What is the Job Description for a Packaging Specialist?” Aurelio Locsin (n.d.) Houston Chronicle website. Retrieved November 25, 2019.



Scholarships for Becoming a Food Packaging Specialist

The scholarships in our system that are relevant for becoming a food packing specialist are all of those that can be found on our Nutrition Scholarships page.


Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any scholarships that you even barely qualify for, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants!



Applicable Majors

Studying one of the university majors listed below is an excellent starting point for getting into this profession. Click on the links to find out what else you can do with these majors!


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Food Packaging Specialist