Fifty-five Essential Learning Outcomes (ELOs) comprise the required content for food science degrees approved by the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), yet the importance of each outcome for graduate industry readiness is expected to vary. To analyze this variance, we assessed the industry relevance of IFT's recently revised (2018) ELOs and compared them to The University of British Columbia's food science graduate proficiency levels. Additionally, we investigated key learning experiences and future directions of the industry to further strengthen food science programs. Significant, positive correlations were found between industry ELO importance ratings and alumni (r = 0.229, p = 0.002) and new graduate (r = 0.476, p < 0.001) self-reported proficiency levels. ELOs in food safety, critical thinking, and professionalism were rated by industry as most important for graduates. Beyond IFT requirements, labs, case studies, and industry exposure through site visits, Co-op, and guest speakers were rated the most effective course learning activities. Industry respondents advised food science programs ensure a strong background in hands-on product development, application of government regulations, and project management. As the IFT considers further ELO refinements, our study suggests that inclusion of business, sustainability, and food science-specific computational skills could enhance graduate professional preparedness and impact. We hope this study will inform appropriate ELO weighting within food science curricula so that collectively we can best prepare graduates to address food science challenges of the future. © 2021 Institute of Food Technologists®.