The 'taste the world' scheme will fund food science graduates to travel around the world working with preferred suppliers to source fresh groceries. Professor Christine Williams said that it was ironic that as food has shot up the public agenda, less university applicants are choosing food science.
"Encouraging graduates to become interested in food technology is crucial to the industry and ultimately the future of Britain's health," she said.
Sainsbury's new scheme comes after the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) warned in August that applicants to food science courses had halved in the last decade and that as many as one in four food science jobs are vacant.
The food retailer is working closely with a number of universities in a bid to lure prospective candidates. Visits have been made to five such universities were presentations have been given on the benefits of the program.
"We wanted to come up with an interesting way of attracting the best people to the business as they'll help shape the future of food," said Liz Jarman, Sainsbury's head of product technology.
Candidates must have a food science degree or pass through the Sainsbury's graduate assessment centre to be eligible for the program.