In 2018, the agrifood sector contributed £120.2 billion (9.4%) to the national Gross Value Added. 3.6 to 4.1 million people were employed in the food sector in the UK in the last quarter of 2019, which adds up to 12-13% of the employed population. Suffice to say, the agrifood sector is an important one in the UK. Here are some of the job areas that you could work in within agrifood;
Food scientists and food technologists hold one of the most well-known jobs in food. They are responsible for researching and developing different ingredients and food and ensuring that they’re safe for consumption. They also play a massive part in determining the best way to process, preserve, and package the food while ensuring that all regulatory standards are met.
Agricultural lawyers deal with all aspects of agriculture, include environmental law and agrifood. The career path is ideal for those who don’t want to work in a farm environment but still want to contribute to the agricultural sector.
Agrifood lawyers can advise everyone in the food supply chain ranging from farmers and breeders to those in policymaking or business. Advice may include labelling, traceability, water law, the use of fertilisers and pesticides, food safety, environmental regulations, and more. They can also handle any disputes that arise between different parties and help clients secure property rights.
Agrifood Business and Management
Some of the most diverse jobs in food are those in agrifood business and management. As new technology is developed and there are innovations in the agricultural sphere, there is an increasing need for agricultural professionals who can handle these new supply chains.
Careers in agrifood business and management include working as consultants, working for family businesses, refining delivery processes, improving or directing supply systems, and more. Food supply systems need management in many aspects. Going into this field can mean applying for more general jobs like Agricultural Manager or specialised jobs like Agrifood and Communications Director, Agrifood Manager, Food Account Manager, and more.
Those interested in both agribusiness and food can merge their interests and pursue a career in food marketing. This involves traditional marketing in the form of branding and advertising but may also be data-based or based on specific markets or aspects, such as marketing food to children or focusing on aspects like labelling.
Research jobs are plentiful in all fields of agriculture, and this is no different for agrifood. As the world population increases, food production also has to keep up with that increase. Those in agrifood research tackle the uncertainty in food systems by innovating to meet the challenges of a growing population, climate changes, different dietary needs, consumer demands, and more.
The COVID-19 pandemic further highlighted the challenges in food systems and food distribution as a whole. Individuals working in this fieldwork in labs, offices, and fields to fix these issues and contribute to more stable food production.
Agrifood tech refers to innovation in the food supply chain in both agtech and food tech. According to research by McKinsey & Company, agriculture is the least digitised of all major industries. Therefore, despite the role that technology plays in agriculture and agrifood in particular, it has not kept up with other industries.
However, this is changing, and there are many jobs in agrifood tech, especially with emerging technologies like milking and harvesting robots and new techniques in vertical farming and diversifying crops. According to AgFunder’s European AgriFood Tech Report, the UK was a leader in agrifood tech in 2018, and invested in £281.4 million ($388 million) across 103 deals. In 2017, it was the third most active country for agrifood tech start-ups, with startups raising more than £362.7 million ($500 million) across 69 deals. In addition to start-ups, there are also opportunities in other organisations and the government.
Food Law and Policy
Those in food law and policy work on public policy concerning food production, processing, and distribution. They can also work closely with policymakers as consultants or with organisations that lobby for different laws regarding food. This can also include working in law and policy about different aspects of food, such as the environmental impact of food waste.
For those who are passionate about agricultural sustainability and the environment, there are many jobs in food that correlate with this. Since agrifood systems are part of sustainable development and current food systems are damaging resources, about the industry requires the services of those seeking to solve these problems. Jobs include dealing with food insecurity, promoting nutritional food growth and sustainable development, and encouraging agroecological practices.
The Future of Jobs in Agrifood
While some view agrifood jobs as those declining in the field of agriculture, this is not wholly true. While on-farm jobs may not be widely available because of the increasing use of technology and digitisation, this does not refer to all food farming jobs. It doesn’t eliminate the off-farm jobs created in the process.
Whilst it is true that some on-farm food-related jobs will be carried out by machinery, this will create jobs for those who need to manufacture machinery, operate the machinery, repair and maintain it, and more. Because of this, there are plenty of jobs in the agrifood industry, including jobs in food that aren’t yet fully recognised. As the industry grows and progresses, so will the opportunities within it.
How to Get Jobs in the Food Industry
If you’re interested in jobs in food, you’re in the right place. Whether you’re a fresh graduate, looking for a job in agrifood, or an employer looking to hire a passionate candidate, Agricultural Recruitment Specialists can help.
We are known through the UK, Europe and worldwide for our recruitment services. We form long-term partnerships with companies and connect them with the best talent available. If you’re a candidate looking for agricultural jobs, you can check our latest jobs here. For companies looking to hire candidates, please check out our client services and contact us here - it's our aim to find you the perfect candidate.