The Big Payoff: Which Food & Beverage Categories See the Highest Pay Increases?

September 28, 2015 in Career and Job Search Tips, Food & Beverage Industry Information, HR Best Practices



How much do you need to offer to land a candidate in dairy? Bakery? Meats?

What’s the standard pay increase job changers can expect in sales? QA? Supply chain?

Great questions! Whether you’re a food & beverage employer that’s hiring, or an industry job seeker who’s negotiating salary or a raise, you need to know what’s fair – and what’s enough. But without accurate salary increase data, it’s tough to be sure.

Thankfully, Kinsa has the information you’re looking for. Earlier this year, we released salary data for over 190 food & beverage placements spanning the last three years.

Today, we’re drilling a little deeper. Based on our data, Kinsa VP Laurie Hyllberg takes a more detailed look at salaries by food category and functional area:

Average Salary Increase by Food & Beverage Category

  • Dairy: 8.4% (25 placements)
  • Bakery: 13.8% (11 placements)
  • Beverage: 18.6% (14 placements)
  • Frozen & Refrigerated Foods: 7.9% (10 placements)
  • Ingredients: 3.6% (21 placements)
  • Meat: 6.5% (28 placements)
  • Shelf-Stable Foods: 6.6% (29 placements)

While the average salary increase for all positions was 8.5%, candidates in the bakery and beverage categories received, on average, significantly higher pay increases when changing jobs.

Average Pay Increase by Job Category

  • Engineering: 14% (10 placements)
  • Plant Manufacturing Operations: 9.2% (33 placements)
  • Purchasing: 2.6% (10 placements)
  • Quality Assurance/Control: 9.3% (39 placements)
  • Research & Development: 11.6% (18 placements)
  • Sales: 12% (29 placements)
  • Supply Chain: .24% (17 placements)

Across food & beverage categories, positions in engineering, sales and R&D saw the highest average salary increases.


Based on our data, Laurie recommends that employers:

  • Consider at least a 10% base salary increase as a minimum acceptable standard. Offer more if the candidate’s base salary is very low for the marketplace, or if he has been with the same employer for quite a while.
  • Take candidate supply into account. Consider how difficult it is to find a talented person in the functional area or food & beverage category you’re hiring for, as well as how long you’ve been searching.
  • Make relocation worth the effort. If a candidate has to relocate to your area, make sure you’re providing financial incentive for him to uproot his life and family.
  • Factor in cost of living differences. Before you settle on a number, consider cost of living variances by using various salary calculators (we recommend CNNSperling’s and
  • Think long-term. Consider the candidate’s potential within your organization, especially if you will be grooming him for a larger role. Make sure your salary offer shows how much you’d like to have the candidate for the long-term with your company. The higher your starting offer, the tougher it will be for competitors to lure him away down the road.

Need more food & beverage salary information or advice?

Contact Kinsa’s recruiting experts. Whether you’re a professional seeking a new executive food & beverage position, or an industry employer ready to make a key hire, we have the insights and expertise you’re seeking.