Consumer scientist

Consumer scientists study why people use or buy products and services, and give advice to retailers and manufacturers.

Average annual salary (starting - experienced): £19,000 - £50,000

Typical hours (a week): 37 - 39

How to become a consumer scientist

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course


You’ll usually need a degree or equivalent qualification in a relevant subject like:

  • consumer studies
  • food and consumer product management
  • food science or technology
  • psychology
  • marketing
  • statistics

Some employers may ask for a postgraduate qualification in behavioural psychology or consumer behaviour.

University (Entry requirements)

You'll usually need:

  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
  • a degree in any subject for a postgraduate course

Direct application

You may be able to apply directly if you've got relevant experience in a related industry, for instance food manufacturing or market research analysis.

What it takes

Skills & Knowledge

You'll need:

  • knowledge of English language
  • analytical thinking skills
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • customer service skills
  • ambition and a desire to succeed
  • persistence and determination
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages confidently

What you'll do

Day to day

Your day-to-day duties may include:

  • researching and writing reports
  • testing recipes
  • recruiting and training panels or focus groups
  • conducting interviews with consumers
  • researching the tastes, needs and preferences of consumers
  • giving advice to manufacturers and retailers on improving items and services
  • developing tests to make sure products meet quality standards and legal requirements
  • representing consumers' rights 
  • advising hotels, restaurants, schools, residential care homes or hospitals on catering
  • advising on products ranging from household goods to public places
  • producing information on cookery, family health and new products
  • talking with the media
  • advising on healthy living in schools, colleges and universities
  • working for bodies like the Food Standards Agency or Trading Standards

Working environment

You could work in a laboratory, at a university or in an office.

Career path and progression

Career path & progression

With experience you could progress into a management post. With training you could use your experience to move into a career in teaching.

Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.
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