25 Highest Paying Food Manufacturing Jobs

Know what the salary is for your role or a role you want to jump into.


November 11, 2023

12 Min Read
25 highest paying food manufacturing jobs
ZipRecruiter put out a list of the highest paying jobs in food manufacturing.Image courtesy of Mikael Vaisanen / The Image Bank

Professional job search ZipRecruiter created a list of the highest paying food manufacturing positions this year.

No matter if you want to delve into the industry or you are a seasoned veteran, this list is a good place to start thinking about which area you would like to move into. As well, the list includes a short summary of the job responsibilities. This is not a be all, end all list, however. And remember that location is a big determining factor on wages.

The most substantial numbers of jobs in the food manufacturing industry are in meat production. If that doesn’t sound interesting, there are positions in other areas such as quality control or quality assurance to ensure the safety of the food that the company is manufacturing or the safety of the equipment they use in the manufacturing process.

There are plenty of ways to get into food manufacturing based on your qualifications. If you want to work as a baker or chef, you can attend culinary school or work your way up in the industry. If you'd like to get into meat processing, you may need to earn a certificate, but you can also learn on the job from a veteran processor.

If that still doesn't sound like the right fit, you can always work in a food manufacturing plant or factory. These jobs usually do not require degrees and are varied in responsibilities. You could work with cooking equipment, canning equipment, packaging equipment, or as a quality controller.

High Paying Food Manufacturing Jobs

Broiler Manager

Salary range: $29,500-$200,000 per year

A broiler manager provides supervision over broilers on a poultry farm, overseeing staff to ensure the proper operations of broiler equipment and production. Duties of a boiler manager are to review and maintain records or report on production. Additional responsibilities may include training other broiler supervisors and staff, as well as maintaining an operations budget. Qualifications to become a broiler manager include a bachelor's degree, although some employers may consider candidates with experience working on a poultry farm or with specialized equipment.


Salary range: $80,000-$150,000 per year

As a flavorist, you use your knowledge of essential oils, natural and artificial compounds, and other ingredients to create flavor formulas. Food and beverage companies use these formulas to create new products and improving existing ones, but you also work to duplicate and replace natural flavors that the manufacturing process destroys. In this role, you focus on creating flavors that have a long shelf life, are allergy-safe, and have broad appeal with consumers, and your responsibilities involve performing research in accordance with dietary and safety regulations imposed by the US Food and Drug Administration.

Food Scientist

Salary range: $62,500-$88,500 per year

The majority of Food Scientist salaries across the United States currently range between $62,500 (25th percentile) and $88,500 (75th percentile) annually. This moderate range of salaries suggests pay in this role will be consistent, regardless skill level, location and years of experience, though some advancement is possible. Based on recent job postings on ZipRecruiter, the Food Scientist job market in the United States is somewhat active, with a few companies hiring.

Refrigeration Engineer

Salary range: $58,500-$86,500 per year

A refrigeration engineer specializes in the design and installation of refrigeration systems. As a refrigeration engineer, your responsibilities include planning and managing the phases of installing complex refrigeration systems for restaurants, medical facilities, warehouses, trucks, and trailers. You must determine what cooling system is needed and how best to design and implement that system to meet your customer's needs.

Distillery Manager

Salary range: $42,000-$84,500 per year

A distillery manager oversees all administrative duties of the distillery, as well as the production and warehousing of beverages after they distill. In this role, you supervise the coordination of all departments within the distillery, from product development and production to supply and operations. Your responsibilities include monitoring profit and loss, forecasting future production levels and costs, and maintaining consistency in the amount of alcohol and ingredients in each batch. You are also required to keep licensure in the state and city of operation and ensure you meet the qualifications to remain a craft distillery.

Food Safety Manager

Salary range: $43,000-$79,000 per year

As a food safety manager, you are the quality control manager for the food your employees produce. Your primary responsibilities are to make sure food from your facility meets health and safety standards and that your employees follow all food safety procedures. Your job duties include overseeing the production and packaging of food, inspecting storage and holding areas, ensuring workers comply with health and safety rules, and reporting issues to plant or facility managers. Food safety managers work in food processing plants, schools, hospitals, and other large-scale food operations.

HVAC Refrigeration Technician

Salary range: $50,000-$73,500 per year

The majority of HVAC Refrigeration Technician salaries across the United States currently range between $50,000 (25th percentile) and $73,500 (75th percentile) annually. This moderate range of salaries suggests pay in this role will be consistent, regardless skill level, location and years of experience, though some advancement is possible. Based on recent job postings on ZipRecruiter, the HVAC Refrigeration Technician job market in the United States is very active, with many companies hiring.

Food Technologist

Salary range: $50,000-$70,500 per year

A food technologist works for a food manufacturer to develop new food products or improve existing products. Your job duties and responsibilities may include developing food products that meet mandated standards, improving shelf life, researching new trends and ingredients, studying consumer feedback, and ensuring product packaging accuracy. You may also perform quality assurance checks on the manufacturing process.

Food Safety Specialist

Salary range: $43,000-$70,000 per year

A food safety specialist inspects food or agricultural sites to ensure compliance with all quality and environmental health standards. They provide certification for food production facilities and products. As a food safety specialist, your duties include on-site inspection, lab work, and visits to restaurants or grocery stores. A safety specialist has many other responsibilities, including evaluating workplace safety, making recommendations for improvements at facilities, performing product tests, working with management at facilities, and making inspections of employee working conditions.

Ammonia Refrigeration Technician

Salary range: $57,500-$70,000 per year

As an ammonia refrigeration technician, your responsibilities include the operation, inspection, and maintenance of ammonia refrigeration and freezer equipment, such as pumps, condensers, compressors evaporators, valves, purgers, and other utility system components. You are expected to control water treatment systems and their required chemicals, pump out, disassemble, repair, and reassemble many kinds of refrigeration equipment, keep up with the production schedule, and adhere to safety procedures and operations. Other duties include replacing defective valves and fan motors, controlling equipment set points to meet customer needs, and removing ice buildup. You must complete daily reports for your supervisor and collaborate with various contractors, electricians, and pipefitters.

Refrigeration Technician

Salary range: $46,500-$69,500 per year

A refrigeration technician helps install, maintain, and repair different types of refrigeration systems, such as a refrigerator, ice machine, beverage dispenser, or refrigerated storage units. Your duties depend on whether you specialize in a specific type of system or technology, or provide more general installation and repair assistance. However, do not vary so widely, and include reading and understanding all manufacturer schematics and blueprints, installing units to specification, and repairing or upgrading systems when necessary.

Refrigeration Service Technician

Salary range: $44,000-$69,000 per year

The majority of Refrigeration Service Technician salaries across the United States currently range between $44,000 (25th percentile) and $69,000 (75th percentile) annually. This moderate range of salaries suggests pay in this role will be consistent, regardless skill level, location and years of experience, though some advancement is possible. Based on recent job postings on ZipRecruiter, the Refrigeration Service Technician job market in the United States is somewhat active, with a few companies hiring.

Food Safety Coordinator

Salary range: $42,000-$63,000 per year

The responsibilities of a food safety coordinator involve working to ensure quality, food safety, and regulatory compliance for companies in the food production, food distribution, and food service industries. Your duties may include scheduling third-party audits or working to get up-to-date information about health department inspections or pest control reports concerning your company’s suppliers and other ingredient sources. You work to ensure proper handling of food and adherence to FDA food code rules during all aspects of production, transport and, if relevant, preparation.

Commercial Kitchen Service Technician

Salary range: $36,000-$63,000 per year

A commercial kitchen service technician troubleshoots and fixes restaurant equipment. In this career, you repair a kitchen appliance and perform regular maintenance. Your responsibilities include communicating with other food industry professionals and making sure cooking appliances work properly. Other duties include monitoring truck stock and ensuring necessary supplies make it from the warehouse to the kitchen. You also keep a log of repairs and services needed. A commercial kitchen service technician installs new kitchen equipment, maintains a neat and orderly truck, and provides excellent customer service for restaurant professionals.

Refrigeration Mechanic

Salary range: $44,000-$62,500 per year

As a refrigeration mechanic, you install and maintain refrigeration systems for residential or commercial properties, such as homes, restaurants, or cold storage facilities. When installing new systems, you consult with customers or facilities managers to determine the scope of installation, budgets, and timetables for completion. Your duties during maintenance work may include performing scheduled checks, cleaning cooling systems, or replacing defective parts or materials, such as refrigerant coolant. You may work at a refrigeration company or as part of a larger construction or HVAC business.

Restaurant Maintenance Technician

Salary range: $39,500-$59,000 per year

As a restaurant maintenance technician, your duties are to provide technical and facilities support for a restaurant. Your responsibilities include performing building repair, troubleshooting problems with kitchen equipment, making adjustments to HVAC systems, and repairing other equipment, such as ice or soda machines. You make daily inspections of the facility and respond to issues whenever customers or employees bring them to your attention. You also work with the restaurant’s general manager to make orders for replacement parts or equipment.

Food Safety Director

Salary range: $40,000-$53,000 per year

At a large food production or manufacturing facility, food safety directors oversee all compliance procedures and policies, perform inspections and other auditing duties, and ensure all workers, as well as the facility itself, are following regulations related to food health and safety. Your responsibilities include hiring and training new inspectors and other quality assurance workers who help inspect the facility and make detailed reports. From their investigations, you determine how best to continue to maintain safety standards or to improve standards at your facility.

Batch Plant Operator

Salary range: $36,000-$49,500 per year

A batch plant operator oversees the quality assurance unit of a ready-mix concrete factory. As a batch plant operator, your job duties include supervising the mixing process to ensure that producers use the correct combination of cement and water, testing batches to confirm they have been made to specifications, and addressing any issues. Qualifications for the career include prior work experience at a mixing plant, strong attention to detail, and mechanical skills for inspecting and maintaining factory equipment.

Food Inspector

Salary range: $34,000-$45,000 per year

A food inspector makes sure that all food produced at a farm, processing plant, slaughterhouse, or other food production facility meets rigorous health and safety requirements before shipment. As a food inspector, your duties include performing physical inspections of the food, investigating health, sanitation, and safety practices at a facility, and writing reports based off of your investigations and interviews. You must be able to notice any potential for bacterial or other contamination and be willing to stop production to uphold public safety.

Oven Operator

Salary range: $32,000-$43,000 per year

An oven operator supervises the baking process during food production in commercial bakeries or factories. As part of your duties, you are responsible for set up, monitoring, and adjusting oven temperature and time controls. You examine the products during and after baking to ensure product quality. Oven operators load and unload product from the oven for the next step in the manufacturing process. You also organize and place oven racks in designated areas, keeping the work area clean, sanitary, and organized. All safety procedures must be followed at all times.

Batch Maker

Salary range: $36,000-$42,000 per year

The responsibilities of a batch maker involve using equipment to mix or blend paints or chemicals according to specifications. Your duties in this career include working to weigh or measure ingredients so that they exactly match the requirements of the chemical or paint formulation. You then monitor the mixing process to ensure even flow of materials into the equipment and proper blending. You must document all your activities and record the contents of each batch and quantities that you use. You also collect and test samples of each batch for quality control purposes.

Batch Mixer

Salary range: $33,500-$41,000 per year

A batch mixer can work in a wide range of industries, from food processing to beauty care to pharmaceutical products. Your responsibilities in this career are similar no matter what the industry. Your duties include mixing chemicals or ingredients to specifications, which requires you to weigh or measure the components for the blend or mix. Some processes require that you monitor it afterward to make sure you get the expected results. Other tasks may involve maintenance and clean up of the equipment and documenting the machines’ production.


Salary range: $35,000-$40,000 per year

As a batcher, your duties and responsibilities are weighing materials and combining them in a mixer to create products, such as cosmetics, paint, concrete, or food. Before you start the production of your batch, you ensure all ingredients and materials have been properly stored and will not spoil a batch. During the production process, you take directions from a batcher operator and perform calibrations and adjustments to the machinery or to the recipe. You also help with quality assurance.

Food Processor

Salary range: $28,000-$35,500 per year

A food processor is an individual who prepares and packages foodstuff before it goes to retailers or consumers. There are no formal academic qualifications for a career as a food processor, although studying agriculture or food science provides you with experience and skills that may be useful in your job. As a food processor, you may work as a butcher, a meat packer, a fish cleaner, a baker, or an assembly line worker in a food processing plant. Your job duties vary depending on your specific role, but you must follow strict health and safety guidelines and government regulations.

Food Taster

Salary range: $26,000-$32,500 per year

A food taster is a quality assurance worker whose responsibilities are to test food products for different characteristics, such as appearance, smell, taste, flavor, and quality of the ingredients. Your duties in this career include taking small bites of different products and judging them against specific standards laid out by the manufacturer or cooking department. Some food tasters work full-time as food technicians, scientists, and marketers. Other food tasters are everyday consumers who consult for companies. Many of these consumers work in other fields in the food industry.

If you are interested in learning about food manufacturing jobs near you, go to ZipRecruiter for a list.

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