To become a professional flavor tester, you need a degree in food science or a related field. Study food production and learn to describe different flavors and textures. Practice eating a variety of foods to train your taste buds. If you're interested in becoming a professional food taster, you'll most likely need a degree in food science or culinary arts.
There are consumer flavor evaluators that help food manufacturers decide when a product is ready to go to market. Lisa Schroeder is an associate sensory scientist, that is, a professional taster, for Mars Wrigley Confectionery U. As a professional taster, you know what you like, but it's also important to keep in touch with what consumers demand. These are NOT full-time positions, and some may require you to do the tasting on site, while others will be at your home.
Solae's tasting panels have helped drive soy innovations in frozen desserts, vegetarian foods and even jerky. If you're interested in becoming a flavor tester, search the Internet for places that might be hiring near you using “flavor tester” as search words. As a McCormick consumer flavor evaluator, you may be asked to try a variety of foods, snacks and beverages during daytime or nighttime tasting sessions at your Hunt Valley, Maryland headquarters or from home. Listen to the job title of “professional flavor tester” and you could imagine someone who gorges himself on chocolates all day and who takes breaks between bites just long enough to scribble notes before treating himself again.
For example, potential MMR evaluators are first tested to recognize flavors and smells and are asked to describe the attributes of various foods. And there are what we'll call “professional flavor testers,” which include food scientists and sensory analysts. As you can see, there are several ways to get into this field, and it's not always necessary to have a degree in food science or have experience in tasting. The evaluation of many of these new food products takes place at the CPTC, where panelists taste the food and give their opinion to consumers.
Between bites of M%26M's, Snickers, Dove and Skittles, Schroeder spends time creating computer programs to evaluate products, plans training before the product launches, organizes panel sessions to test flavors as a team, and continues his own tasting education. Focus %26 Testing Based in Los Angeles, Focus %26 Testing is one of the leading flavor testing centers in the U.S. Department of State specializing in food and beverage research.