9 Jobs in the Food Industry That Contribute to a Healthier Society

Public health officials across the United States are looking for ways to encourage people to live healthier lives. In some cities and states, they've tried to limit access to junk food and soda. The food industry itself is evolving to promote healthier lifestyles. As a result, there are new jobs available in this sector related to nutrition, organic food, and health-conscious meal planning.

Take a look at these nine jobs that contribute to a healthy society. 

Agricultural Managers

two green tomatoes on a tree

Image via Flickr by George M. Groutas

This position assists farmers who want to grow their food in a way that complies with organic guidelines. The processes used to grow organic food are more complicated. For example, farmers must weed or grow cover plants instead of spraying synthetic herbicides. Similarly, synthetic pesticides and fertilizers aren't options.

As farmers strive to achieve organic certification from regulators, agricultural managers help them choose the best practices that comply with the rules, implement those systems in a cost-effective way, and complete the necessary paperwork to apply for certification. In some cases, these managers develop and implement strategies for multiple farms.

As more consumers demand organic food because they want to reduce their exposure to chemicals, farmers are willing to hire people with this kind of expertise. Expect to see more jobs like this in the future to support people's desire to eat healthier.

Agricultural Inspectors

USDA organic label

Image via Flickr by nikoretro

With more farmers wishing to have their operations certified as organic, state and federal regulating bodies need to hire more inspectors. These individuals have to be educated on the rules farmers must follow to achieve organic certification. Inspectors must have strong writing skills because they produce reports that explain in detail the outcome of each inspection.

Organic Restaurant Managers 

three plates of food

Image via Flickr by SweetOnVeg

A 2011 poll from Thomson-Reuters and NPR that's still widely cited shows that most people prefer to eat organic. That statistic, along with the fact that the organic food market has showed sustained year-to-year growth, shows an ongoing need for restaurant managers who understand how to market, acquire, and sell meals made with organic food. These individuals must understand what's driving consumers to seek organic food at restaurants. They also have to grasp the relationships between organic, local, and responsibly sourced food, and how to incorporate these selling points into their menu and marketing.

Nutritionists and Registered Dieticians

From grocery stores' corporate headquarters to restaurant chains, nutritionists are finding plenty of work in the food industry. These businesses are trying to capitalize on increasing awareness of the need to eat healthier. Nutritionists may review restaurant menus regularly and then offer ideas for incorporating items with fewer calories and less fat. They may also suggest healthy entrees that incorporate seasonal vegetables.

At grocery stores, registered dieticians may create or refine systems that help customers identify healthy choices. They may also create ways to distribute healthy recipes to customers with either physical handouts or through digital means.

Food Engineers and Food Scientists

scientist working with test tube
Image via Flickr by DFAT photo library

There's a growing wave of interest in developing plant-based alternatives to certain foods with the goal of keeping only the healthy components. Hampton Creek Foods exemplifies this effort. This company's scientists have commercialized their first product: a plant-based mayonnaise that contains no eggs. While there are many drivers behind this company, the founders cite the need for foods with lower cholesterol. As more entrepreneurs look for ways to create healthier foods, they'll need to hire scientists with an interest and background in this area.

Organic Food Handlers

vegetables in baskets

Image via Flickr by NatalieMaynor

It takes tremendous coordination to get organic food to consumers who want it. Organic food handlers know how to work the supply chain, connecting farmers with distributors and distributors with retailers. Handlers may serve as brokers themselves, a kind of middle man who handles paperwork and scheduling of deliveries. As organic food steadily rises in popularity, these supply chain jobs in the food industry are likely to grow. Negotiating prices, managing crises like late deliveries, and coaching retailers on how to sell organic food are all tasks of supply chain workers in the organic industry. 

Organic Retailers 

cans of organic tomato sauce

Image via Flickr by ricardodiaz11

In many communities, locally owned organic food shops are opening to accommodate increasing demand. They want to hire people for customer service positions who have excellent people skills, strong oral communication, and knowledge of niche marketing.

Organic retailers typically want employees who have a strong interest and knowledge of the benefits of eating organic food. Employees also need an understanding of what the organic food label means. Some niche retailers offer exotic and unusual products that are unfamiliar to most consumers. That means the front-line workers may need to explain to customers how to prepare food using these ingredients.

Health Food Marketers

Whether food manufacturers are selling organic, low-fat, or low-calorie choices, they need help communicating their message to consumers. Marketing professionals who understand how to shape the conversation in this industry have plenty of job opportunities. They may create ad campaigns, public awareness efforts, and educational programs. The prospects for these jobs are bright considering more companies in the food industry hope to ride the wave of health-conscious eating.

Organic Food Sales Representatives

food on grocery store shelf

Image via Flickr by Walmart Corporate

The organic food industry relies on sales reps to move product to market. Without persuasive sales people who can succinctly articulate the value proposition of organic foods, farmers would have limited venues in which to sell their produce and meat. Given the increasing demand for organic food, it's reasonable to expect sales positions to remain steady or even increase. As many sales jobs are based on commission, candidates for these jobs need to know the health benefits of eating organic food and potential concerns such as cost.

Awareness of the importance of healthy eating has increased in recent years as the national conversation has shifted and more people are thinking about combating obesity. As a result, the food industry is shifting, too. For job seekers, that means more opportunities to be a part of this exciting public health movement.

Contributed to jobs.net by Kim Hale

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