7 Cool Jobs in the Food Industry and the Women Behind Them

Women in front of food
Danielle Doolen
3 years ago

Whether you’re looking to get started in the food industry or are exploring what opportunities are available to you, we have seven food industry jobs for you to check out. Plus, we have career stories from the awesome women behind the roles. The possibilities are endless!

Quality Engineer

What does the role do: A quality engineer oversees an organization’s manufacturing and engineering processes. They are responsible for designing and testing the company’s quality standards and processes.

The woman behind the role: Kathleen Trivette at General Mills. Learn more about her career journey into the food industry here.

How to get started: It’s best to have, at a minimum, an associate’s degree, but a bachelor’s degree is preferred. To move up the career ladder, you may need to obtain a master’s degree. Quality engineers acquire most skills through on the job training, including learning about the company’s processes and procedures. If you’re looking to grow in this role, starting in an entry-level position and working your way up would be the best place to start.

Senior Scientist

What does the role do: A senior scientist oversees a lab or the development of food products. They’re a research professional who demonstrates a strong understanding of the business, operations, food science, and the commercialization process. They assist in creating new products or technologies to help the business achieve its goals.

The woman behind the role: Gabriela Eyng at Rattin Mondelēz International. Learn more about her career journey here.

How to get started: A bachelor’s degree in food science, food process engineering, or chemical engineering is needed with a master’s degree setting you apart from other candidates. Previous experience with consumer packaged goods is usually desired.

Instructor and/or Private Chef

What does the role do: Instructors teach the art of cooking, including preparation techniques and cuisines, to those seeking degrees in culinary arts or those who are interested in expanding their cooking skills. Instructors can often leverage their expertise to also work as private chefs. Private chefs work independently to create meals and experiences for individuals or events.

The woman behind the role: Rachel Brumitt at Kinship Cooking. Learn more about how she got her start as an instructor and private chef and her perspective on the food service industry here.

How to get started: To become a cooking instructor or private chef, you’ll likely need formal culinary training. Depending on your state, you may also need a business license or catering license. Working in a restaurant to gain experience and expertise is a great place to start your career journey.

Category Manager

What does the role do: A category manager sells goods to the public or retailers. They work with marketing, research companies, supply chain, and commercial departments to implement and educate others on a common message and strategy. They’re responsible for vendor manager, product selection, product mix, product pricing, product display, marketing, planning, and inventory control.

The woman behind the role: Daniela Nath at CSCS. Learn about her career path and what accomplishments she’s most proud of here.

How to get started: Becoming a category manager typically requires a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in business, retailing, management, sales, or marketing. An MBA or master’s degree will set you apart from other candidates. Having previous experience in category management, merchandising, vendor relationships, product purchasing, financial analysis, or inventory control is preferable.


What does the role do: The possibilities are endless when it comes to being an owner. You can start your own restaurant, bakery, coffee shop, catering company, or whatever else your heart can dream.

The woman behind the role: Christina Whitney at The Confectionist. Learn more about how she started her own business here.

How to get started: The most significant thing you need to become an owner is passion and experience. There usually is no perfect or ideal time to start your own business. If you have the drive and the expertise, you can figure it out as you go.

Product Development

What does the role do: Product development involves a series of steps starting from the conceptualization of a product, and moves through the design, development, and marketing of a newly created or newly rebranded or design good or service. Designing or redesigning these products helps to meet the customers’ needs more effectively. Collaboration with multiple departments is needed throughout the process.

The woman behind the role: Liz Schmit at General Mills. Learn more about her role and expertise here.

How to get started: A bachelor’s or master’s degree in food science, food engineering, chemical engineering, or biology is most often required. You can begin at an entry-level position, like a Product Development Specialist, where any experience in product, packing, or process development will set you apart from the competition.

Director of Global Operations

What does the role do: A Director of Global Operations oversees and drives optimization for internal processes. They focus on global analysis, sales, and customer service. Since their role oversees all operations, they need to have a strong understanding of everything going on in the business. The range of responsibilities can vary based on the size of the organization.

The woman behind the role: Alyssa Badger at Highground Dairy. Learn how she became interested in the food industry here.

How to get started: A bachelor’s or master’s degree in a food industry-related field or business administration is most often needed. Previous experience in managerial positions is preferred, as is previous food industry experience. Working your way up the ladder within a company can help prove your skills and value.

Are you looking to network with professionals in the food industry? Join the Females in Food community! It’s a great opportunity to connect with women, learn more about jobs within the industry, and how women just like you got to where they are today.

For more career resources, networking, and job opportunities, check out our membership community Females in Food. Our mission is simple – to advance women into senior leadership positions across every segment of the F&B industry and close the gender gap.
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