Should I Take Food Science or Nutrition?

Hey Team FoodGrads!

Maybe you have this question, or maybe you know someone who has the same dilemma?

Perhaps you had never thought of a career in Food Science or Diet/Nutrition and want to learn more.

I’m leaning towards a couple of program options at the university I plan on attending – food science vs. diet/nutrition. With your experience on the transition side into vocation, any quick thoughts?”

We asked our awesome FoodGrads community of new grads and experienced food industry professionals.  Here are the responses;

Feedback from the Food & Beverage FoodGrads Community;

You must consider your long term desires when answering this question, and what are your interests?

The two educational paths definitely intersect in terms of learning plans, but the job opportunities may be different. Both educational paths could result in a career at a CPG or food/beverage manufacturer, but there are many more opportunities at these companies as a food scientist.

In the diet/nutrition world, however, there are broader industry opportunities available – think health care, school feeding programs, government programs, etc, in addition to traditional food manufacturers.

From a simplistic perspective – if you want to make the food you can buy on the shelf, pursue food science. If you want to evaluate that food and recommend food choices, pursue dietetics/nutrition. Jason Robinson

If you want to make the food you can buy on the shelf, pursue Food Science

“As a nutrition student I would say deciding between food science and nutrition/diet significantly depends on what one wants to focus their career on. Diet/Nutrition is geared more towards the clinical sector which would include patient care whereas food science is more product oriented and more so in a corporate environment. Both do however offer very rewarding career opportunities. Harleen Parmar

I would say that unless you know that you want to pursue a career as a dietitian, either program would help you to find a career in the food industry. Actually, I think any science degree can help you get there but I would HIGHLY recommend choosing a program with Co-op!

I have a general Biology degree from the University of Waterloo, but thanks to co-op I got to try out some different jobs in different industries and learn what I like and don’t like and what kinds of jobs are actually out there in the real world.

I graduated with a hefty resume of work experience and was actually hired right out of school by a company I worked for as a co-op student. Even though it might take you an extra year to graduate, a co-op program is well worth it for the money you’ll make over the course of your degree and the invaluable life and work experience you will gain. Morgan Genge

Co-ops allow you to try different jobs and give you tons of work experience to add to your resume

I agree about co-op. It helps set you apart with different experiences. Alexander Kamps

I actually look back on my undergrad at the University of Guelph and wished there was a co-op option in their Nutrition and Nutraceutical Sciences B.Sc. major. Unfortunately I didn’t have the option, but I think it would have really helped give me more perspective when I was so young. Brittney Kay

“Having been a past RD, and fully transitioned into another field strongly embracing food science – would have to say that lack of career development opportunity and the escalating cost of maintaining PDU’s / CEU’s need to be seriously thought out before going down the dietitian path.

Especially when that field tends to not pay competitively for the amount of college, and continuing education, required to sustain the credentialing mandated to be an RD / LDN. Laura Schaufelberger

I’d agree with all of the above – I transitioned immediately from my food science degree to an internship and then was hired full time in a corporate position in ingredient procurement.

Definitely have to look into long term career goals. One thing I can say is having a technical background and then going into a more business-sided position at a food company has been invaluable. Really helps to have that deep technical knowledge when speaking with ingredient suppliers, and also when working with R&D, regulatory, quality, etc. Lukas Krause

A BIG thank you to all the people who shared their amazing and valuable insight, you rock!

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