A popular degree option today is that of food industry management. This is a bachelor’s and master’s degree program that is designed for students who want a variety of careers in the food industry. Graduates in the food industry management field typically enter managerial positions with food distributors and wholesalers, as well as in sales, retail, account management and production supervision.
What Is Food Industry Management?
The food industry, from restaurants to grocery stores to supply chain companies, employs more than one in six workers in the United States. Students who study food industry management put themselves in position to work in upper level management positions in a variety of food-related businesses. These bachelor’s and master’s programs provide you with a broad perspective of the managerial problems that are common in the food industry, and also teaches you to understand the high level of interdependence among food related companies.
As the global economy continues to gain strength a decade after the last downturn, it is likely there will be an increasing need for food industry management professionals as consumers spend more money in this area of the economy.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics or BLS reports the employment of food service managers will rise by 9% by 2026, which is about as fast as average for all occupations. It is expected that population and income growth will cause greater demand for food at many types of dining establishments. When the economy is doing better, people continue to dine out, get take out meals and have food delivered to the workplace and the home. Many of these growing establishments will need food industry management professionals to oversee service and food preparation.
The National Restaurant Association also notes the food and restaurant industry will add 1.6 million jobs by 2027. It is expected that job growth in the restaurant industry will be especially strong in the south and west, especially Texas and Arizona.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that food service managers held 308,000 jobs as of 2016. The largest employers in the food industry management field were:
- Restaurants and other eating establishments: 47%
- Self employed workers: 34%
- Special food services: 4%
- Accomodation: 3%
BLS reports the median salary for food service managers in 2017 was $52,000, with the top 10% earning $90,200. The agency reported salaries varied according to these different industries:
- Accomodation: $61,500
- Special food services: $58,900
- Restaurants and other eating establishments: $49,300
According to Glassdoor.com, food operations managers earn an average salary of $69,300.
According to Forbes magazine, the top employers in the food industry, according to employee reviews are:
- Proctor and Gamble
Many universities offer a bachelor’s degree today in food industry management that will give you the entry to this exciting field. Arizona State University offers an online Bachelor of Arts in Business with a concentration in food industry management. The program is offered by the Morrison School of Agribusiness at ASU, and was developed in close collaboration with various partners in the food industry, as well as retail stores, restaurants and food related institutions.
Students in this four year, online program will learn the skills they need in supply chain management, marketing, HR and finance to handle the many challenges in the food industry. Some of the common courses in this online, accredited program are:
- Food advertising and promotion
- Microeconomic analysis of food markets
- Food supply networks
- Food retailing
- Food product innovation and management
While the majority of food industry management degrees are at the bachelor’s level, there are some master’s degrees available, such as the Master of Science in Agriculture: Food Science and Management Plan at Washington State University. Courses in this two year, online program are in toxicology, statistics, organizational management, microbiology and leadership.
Typical admission requirements for a food industry management degree include:
- 0 GPA or higher
- College and high school transcripts
- Work experience in the food industry
- Two or three professional and academic recommendations
- Writing samples and essay
- GRE scores may be required at the master’s level
Students who are earning their food industry management degree may be interested in some of the following scholarships and grants to decrease their out of pocket costs:
- Coca-Cola Scholarship Program: $20,000
- com Culinary and Hospitality Scholarship Program: $1000
- Mary Macey Scholarship Program: $1500
- Roger Collins Leadership Scholarship: $1500
- Pepper Tuition Giveaway Contest: $100,000
- Burger King Scholars Award: $1000
- Annie’s Homegrown Sustainable Agriculture Scholarship: $10,000
- Consolidated Foodservice Scholarship: $500
If you want to improve your career prospects in food industry management, you may want to consider some of these certifications:
- Certified in Comprehensive Food Safety (CCFS): This is a mark of distinction for food safety professionals who want to demonstrate a high level of expertise in the processing and manufacturing area.
- Certified Service Manager (CSM): This credential provides necessary education and certification requirements for service managers at dealer, franchise and distributor locations, including the food industry.
- Certified Professional – Food Safety (CP-FS): This is a credential for food safety professionals and is made for those in the public and private sectors whose main job responsibility is the safety and protection of food.
Those who want to work in the food industry management field may want to consider joining the following associations to improve their education and networking:
- School Nutrition Association
- National Food Service Management Institute
- National Restaurant Association
- American Public Health Association
- American Culinary Federation
The food industry management profession is growing as the US economy is getting on stronger footing. Professionals with a food industry management degree should be able to find a solid managerial position in the coming years as more food related businesses both start and expand.
- Job Outlook in Food Service Industry. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.restaurant.org/Restaurant-Careers/Career-Development/Jobs-Outlook
- Food Service Managers. (2017). Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/food-service-managers.htm#tab-5