Internships are important parts of the education and training process for a variety of different careers, particularly those that require lots of hands-on learning and experience. Food science is one of the fields where internships are not only valuable but imperative. Moreover, many colleges give students course credit for the internships they participate in, and you can usually finish your program in the summer or in the middle of the school year. So, where can you find internship opportunities as a food science major? Good question! These internships are available at local companies and for major manufacturing companies too. In this article, we’ll briefly discuss some of the different types of internships offered to food science majors. We’ll also highlight specific internship opportunities currently available across the United States for students enrolled in food science degree programs at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.
Regulatory Research Internship
One of the top internships for food science majors is the regulatory research internship. These types of internships are often available at food science companies and in the local government. A regulatory research assistant will work with a scientist to ensure that all workers follow the regulations put in place by that organization or department. As an intern in this particular role, you may need to take detailed notes, write reports, supervise other workers and occasionally work in the lab.
Quality Assurance Internship
Quality assurance is one of the most important jobs found in any food company. When a company releases a product like a frozen dinner it expects every dinner that rolls off the line to taste exactly the same. Customers who move or travel often want to know that they will always have the exact experience with a particular brand and product. That is why many restaurant chains and food product suppliers hire interns to work in quality assurance jobs. If selected for this particular internship role, you’ll have the chance to walk the line, see the products put out, sample items, and ensure that the quality remains standard across all items every day.
Food Scientist Internship
Food scientists conduct research on all aspects of food production. They often evaluate packaged and fresh foods for signs of contamination or toxins that can make people sick. Food scientists also perform tasks like inspecting food processing companies for signs of federal law violations, identifying new ways to package convenience foods, and improving distribution channels around the world. Though the Bureau of Labor Statistics puts the median salary for food scientists at more than $68,000 a year, many interns will receive class credit in lieu of a salary. Some internships for food science majors at the graduate level provide interns with a weekly paycheck, however.
Though most of the internships that you will find as a food science major will be offered through employers in the United States, there are other programs available in foreign countries as well. Spending a semester in Mexico, France or the United Kingdom will give you a unique perspective on what food scientists do in those countries and how the regulations abroad differ from those used in America. You might work for a marketing firm in New Zealand to learn about how specialists market new types of food, for instance, or you might accept an internship for a candy company in Britain to see how the company creates new foods and tests those products. International internships in food science can be enlightening experiences that lead to exciting careers internationally and domestically.
Among the top internships for food science majors are those available from big-name manufacturing companies like Tyson Foods or ConAgra Foods. ConAgra Foods is the parent company behind brands like Swiss Miss, Hebrew National, and La Choy, while Tyson Foods produces fresh chicken and chicken products. These and other such companies hire interns to work in their marketing, food processing, and other departments. Interns can work in a production facility and see how the company makes some of its top products, for example, but they can also work in a testing facility and learn more about the steps that companies take before releasing a new product. In many cases, interns who are successful in their roles at food manufacturing companies will be offered jobs upon completion of the internship.
Food science majors can work in dozens of different fields, including roles as product developers, marketing experts, and quality assurance specialists. Participating in at least one of these internships for food science majors during your college years will give you invaluable experience in one of those fields. Perhaps more importantly, your role as an intern (either paid or unpaid) can also lead to your first real job in the industry.
Top 15 Current Food Science Internships – 2022
Our editors have hand-picked some of the best and most promising food science internships currently available. This is not meant to be an exhaustive list. Rather, it is intended to give you an idea of the internship opportunities available right now as well as an understanding of the types of roles and responsibilities you’ll take on as a food science intern. Our selections for the top 15 internships currently accepting applicants (as of this writing) are listed below in no particular order.
LC America Quality Control Lab Intern
Colfax, North Carolina
The food science internship offered by LC America is for a quality control lab intern. To be eligible for this paid, part-time position, students must be currently enrolled in a degree program at the undergraduate or graduate level, preferably in food and bioprocessing sciences. Once selected, the intern will report to the Quality Manager and will perform tasks such as testing the quality of water, evaluating stabilized products, and providing general assistance. High-level data management and input skills are required for this particular internship.
Tyson Foods Sensory Intern
Food science students interested in pursuing the sub-field of sensory science should consider this internship opportunity offered through Tyson Foods. In this role, interns will assist the company’s Sensory Scientists in developing and conducting various sensory tests for Tyson products. The internship is scheduled to last between nine and fourteen weeks, but a year-long extension may be available. Preferred majors include food science, sensory science, meat science, animal science, and poultry science. Both undergraduate and graduate students are invited to apply, but students must have completed at least one year of college and have at least one year remaining in their respective degree programs.
Cargill Food Science R&D Intern
Cargill offers a 12-week internship in its Protein and Salt division for students studying food science or meat science. Once chosen, student interns will work alongside experienced food scientists as they perform duties related to sensory evaluation, USDA regulations, least-cost formulations, shelf-life, and more. To qualify, students must be either studying at the graduate level or in the final year of their undergraduate food science degree program. A minimum 3.0 GPA is also required. This is a paid internship opportunity that includes additional benefits such as professional networking and development as well as housing assistance.
Pepsico R&D Intern
A global leader in the food and beverage industry, Pepsico is currently offering an internship opportunity in its Research & Development (R&D) department. If chosen, you will work in one of three available internship positions:
- R&D Engineer
- R&D Food Scientist
- R&D Global Functions Specialist
This internship is open to both undergraduate and graduate students. Undergrads must be in their junior year of a bachelor’s degree program in food science, engineering, agriculture, or related field. Candidates with experience or training in data science will be given preference.
Grande Cheese Company Internships
Fond du Lac, Wisconsin
Wisconsin-based Grande Cheese Company offers various internship opportunities for food science majors and recent graduates. These summer-long opportunities provide students with hands-on experience in the food industry as well as direct mentorship from some of the best in the field. Additional benefits include professional development courses, access to the company’s test kitchen, and a free health screening.
Inter-Faith Food Shuttle Dietetic Intern
Raleigh, North Carolina
The student internship opportunity from Inter-Faith Food Shuttle is a dietetics position working in the organization’s Community Health Education Program. The selected intern will provide assistance to other team members, develop nutrition education materials, provide community-based nutrition education services, and conduct research as necessary to update nutrition education resources. Eligible candidates will have a degree in food science, nutrition, public health nutrition, dietetics, or a related field. This is an unpaid internship opportunity that lasts roughly three to four months.
General Mills Food Safety & Quality Associate Intern
Food science students interested in pursuing careers in food safety and quality should consider this stand-out internship opportunity offered by food giant General Mills. Graduate and undergraduate students alike are invited to apply, but applicants should be pursuing a degree in food science or engineering (i.e., chemical, food processing, material science, industrial, or package engineering). A minimum 3.0 GPA is also preferred. Once selected, interns will join a cohort of like-minded young professionals and have the chance to build professional networks and skills for a career in food quality and safety. This particular internship is ten weeks in length.
Blount Fine Foods Food Safety & Quality Assurance Intern
Fall River, Massachusetts
Blount Fine Foods currently offers an internship opportunity for food science majors interested in working in the sub-field of food safety and quality. This is an undergraduate opportunity that focuses on government regulation compliance and vendor approval. In addition to being a Bachelor of Arts candidate at an accredited college or university, the qualified candidate will be proficient in Microsoft Word. Once selected, interns will have access to feedback from mentors and supervisors, professional networking opportunities, and career readiness resources.
Campbell’s Soup Company Research & Development Intern
Norwalk, Connecticut / Charlotte, North Carolina
Well-known Campbell’s Soup Company is currently hosting two separate R&D research opportunities for food science students at their Campbells Snacks locations in Connecticut and North Carolina. In this role, interns will work on a critical research project related to one of the company’s snack brands such as Lance Crackers, Snyders Pretzels, or Milano Cookies. Both undergraduate and graduate students are invited to apply, but their area of study must be in food science or a closely related field. A GPA of 3.0 or higher is preferred. Professional development, networking, and career planning assistance are advantages of this particular internship.
Brakebush Brothers, Inc.
A leader in the poultry processing industry, Brakebush Brothers offers internships for food science majors in a variety of sub-disciplines including food safety, research & development, and quality assurance. These paid internships last a minimum of 10 to 12 weeks and provide students with hands-on experience in the poultry industry as well as networking and career development opportunities. The company prefers candidates who demonstrate creativity and mandates either undergraduate or graduate enrollment in food science or a related field.
OSI Group R&D Culinary Intern
The OSI Group is seeking a research and development intern to join its culinary team. This summer internship opportunity is intended for students with a BS degree in food science or a related field. Interns will perform duties such as food product formulation, ordering materials, stocking, and setting up laboratory equipment, for instance. Experiential learning in food product safety, food formulation, cost improvement, and culinary arts are benefits of the experience.
Agropur Quality Assurance Intern
Lake Norden, South Dakota
A dairy cooperative, Agropur sponsors annual summer internships in a variety of food science sub-fields. Currently, the company is seeking a quality assurance intern to work with its Quality Assurance and Laboratory Leadership team. This position requires that interns help with quality inspections, collect samples, troubleshoot issues with sanitation, and evaluate documentation for compliance with safety and quality regulations, for example. Students pursuing a food science or related degree at the associate’s, bachelor’s, or master’s level are invited to apply.
Corbion RD&A Summer Intern
Students interested in the ingredient solutions industry may apply to the summer internship at Corbion. This RD&A role requires interns to perform tasks such as designing experiments, researching scholarly literature, processing new ingredients, analyzing data, and more. Qualified candidates include food science students pursuing a bachelor’s or master’s degree as well as undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in programs like chemistry, microbiology, engineering, or business. The benefits of this internship include professional networking, hands-on experience, and the opportunity to refine career goals.
Mountaire Farms Food Safety Quality Assurance
Lumber Bridge, North Carolina
Mountaire Farms is currently seeking a food safety/quality assurance intern to work and train at its Lumber Bridge processing plant. Some of the duties associated with this 8-13 week internship include analyzing processes, compiling reports, and completing a specific project related to foods safety and quality assurance. To be eligible for this opportunity, students should be enrolled in a food science degree program or a related major at an accredited college or university. An understanding of proper lab procedures and proficiency in Microsoft Word is also required.
Bunge North America Milling Intern (Research & Development)
St. Charles, Missouri
Bunge North America is actively seeking a student intern to work in its milling division as a research and development assistant. Responsibilities associated with this role include food preparation tasks, providing feedback on food quality, operating food processing equipment, and preparing prototypes. Qualified candidates are those pursuing a food science degree or an academic credential in a closely related field. Applicants should also have an interest in milling and grain-based food products.
Although there are a number of internship opportunities available in food science, we recommend starting the search process sooner rather than later for the best chances at the top internships. Specifically, our editors recommend beginning your search for these opportunities as early as your first year enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate food science degree program. Also, keep in mind that internships are competitive, so maintaining a high GPA and making positive impressions on your professors are good strategies for landing the internship opportunity of your dreams. Typically, the better your internship experience, the more likely it is that you’ll receive a good job offer upon graduation from your academic program in food science. Happy hunting!