A food batchmaker creates large batches of food products and generally works at a food manufacturing facility where they have to follow recipes. As part of their work, they collect test results and record timings, temperature, and ingredients used. Food batchmakers also select and weigh ingredients and place them in containers. The weights are usually in imperial or metric units.
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Food batchmakers observe gauges to ensure that temperature is within the specified limits, adjust valves to control temperature, and operate switches and knobs to control equipment including salt pumps, discharge pipes, extruders, and beaters. Equipment will have to be monitored in order to detect malfunctions such as plugging or leaks. They also operate the equipment to process ingredients per formulas and recipes. It is also their responibilty to report malfunctions and undesirable taste to their supervisors. Food batchnakers evaluate information to ensure compliance with standards and if there are any changes to be made - such as change to quantities, sizes, materials, costs, and time - they ensure they changes are done.
Much physical activity is required, including handling, stooping, walking, balancing, lifting, and climbing. Products will need to be manipulated by rolling, pulling, cutting, casting, spinning, kneading, spreading, and separation. Food can be chilled, frozen, baked, cooked, dried, mixed, ground, or sliced. Food samples must be tested for butterfat content, gravity, acidity, and moisture content. The final product will be inspected, graded, and packed. Other duties include cleaning, sterilization, and inspection of vats and processing areas. Equipment and materials will have to be inspected as well. It will be necessary to make decisions and solve problems after analyzing information, hence the need to be mathematically inclined or logicall accurate.
Communication with subordinates, peers, and supervisors will be necessary, which could be via speech, email, writing, or telephone. It will also be necessary to impart knowledge to others, which could be as formalized as developing training programs.
A high school diploma or GED will be necessary, but training will also be given on the job. Two-year associate degrees can be obtained in food service, baking, or culinary arts. There may be apprenticeship opportunities. A food batchmaker will have to give full attention to other people and ask questions. They will have to manage their own and other people's time. Skills of logic will be required. The worker will need to be familiar with raw materials, processes, quality control, and cost. They will have to follow specific rules.
Anyone working with the processing of food must have a high standard of personal hygiene. Workers will have to wash their hands frequently and wear protective clothing including overalls, masks, gloves, and hair nets. An ability to see objects at close range is required, in addition to manual dexterity and an eye for detail. Machinery will have to be adjusted quickly and repeatedly. A degree of trunk strength is necessary, concentrating on the abdominal and lower back muscles, which will have to be exercised repeatedly and over time. A worker would have to stand for extended periods. There could be a requirement to lift objects weighing as much as 50lbs. Food allergies would make a candidate ineligible, as any worker would come into direct contact with foodstuffs. Workers must be able to work unsupervised. Night shifts sometimes are required.
Work takes place in spaces specifically designed for food processing. The working week is usually 40 hours. To discover whether a workplace is good, inquiries can be made as to turnover rates and the hours required. It is best to dress as others do. The environment could be hot, cold, slippery, wet, dusty, or noisy, depending on the product that is made.
Food batchmakers can go on to become kitchen equipment operators, candymakers, and bakers. Increasing automation could reduce job opportunities for food batchmakers, but job growth is still expected to rise. The median annual salary of a food batchmaker in the United States is $24,170, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Salaries have increased by 14 percent since 2004.
The highest salaries are in Iowa ($36,200), New Hampshire ($32,320), and Idaho ($31,060). The lowest are in Puerto Rico ($16,340), West Virginia ($19,090), and New Mexico ($20,220). Salaries are highest in the transportation and warehousing ($30,430), manufacturing ($27,450), and wholesale trade ($25,360) industries. They are lowest in management ($19,610), accommodation and food services ($20,080) and administration, support and waste management ($21,710).