What are the Different Careers in the Food Packaging Industry?

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  • Written By: Bobbie Fredericks
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 15 October 2019
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The food packaging industry employs people with a wide range of education levels and experience, and there are many different types of jobs available. Those with master's degrees or equivalent levels of education and experience will have the best opportunity for high-paying jobs, such as inspectors, supervisors, product designers and engineers, in the food packaging industry. People with no experience and little education will be able to find opportunities in the lower-paying jobs, such as food packers and sorters, machine operators, and maintenance workers. Those who start at the lower levels may have opportunities for promotions if they are dedicated workers.

Product designers develop the actual food product. They may use market research data to perfect the products. These positions typically require at least a bachelors degree in industrial design or a related field. There are good opportunities in the food packaging industry for creative product designers.

Package design engineers are an important part of the food packaging industry as well. Packages need to be strong and durable in addition to being able to keep the food as fresh as possible. This position requires at least a bachelor's degree in packaging science or a related engineering field.


Quality assurance inspectors test samples of the food products to be sure there are no harmful microorganisms or foreign materials. These people work in a lab and utilize a number of tests and a variety of equipment to discover any potential problems. Most positions require at least a bachelor's degree in a food science. Some positions may have stricter or more lenient requirements, depending on the amount of responsibility.

Supervisors manage the production and sorting aspects of the food packaging process. Supervisors sometimes start as hourly employees and are promoted to a higher position. To start as a supervisor one should have a bachelors degree in a related field or several years of related experience.

Machine operators produce the food product. The work varies widely depending on the type of food produced. There are usually no educational requirements for machine operators, but experience in the field may be required.

Packers do the physical work in the food packaging industry. Their work involves actually packaging the food products. There is generally no education requirement for packers, and there is usually the possibility of promotion for dedicated employees.

Sorters pack the packaged goods into boxes to be shipped. They also isolate defective packages that need to be disposed. Generally no specific level of education is required, and training for new hires usually is available.

Maintenance is important to keep the machinery running smoothly, so maintenance workers have important jobs in the food packaging industry. They make repairs as necessary and perform regular inspections. A technical diploma is often needed although on-the-job training may be offered by some employers.



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