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How Do You Become A Food Taster?

How Do You Become A Food Taster?

“Professional Food Taster” sounds like a good job – but is it?

You might picture someone who gorges on chocolates all day, taking breaks between bites only long enough to quickly scribble notes before indulging again. But as pro tasters will tell you, it’s not all about just eating.

Lisa Schroeder is an associate sensory scientist, in other words, a professional taster, for Mars Wrigley Confectionery U.S. Between bites of Snickers, M&M’s, and Skittles, Schroeder takes time to create computer programs to evaluate products, plans ahead for product launches, runs taste-testing panel sessions, and continues her own tasting education.

When she’s not taste testing soup, Jane Freiman, director of the Campbell’s Soup Co. consumer test kitchen, is evaluating new recipes and running taste panels.

Elizabeth McCall, master taster for distiller Woodford Reserve, doesn’t sip bourbon all day long – for obvious reasons. McCall spends time speaking at events, hosting tastings for clients, and improving the brand’s procedures and production facility.

If you’re still on board to become a taster, these three women can tell you how to do it.

Have a superior sense of taste.

Simply put, you can’t become a taster without a strong sense of taste—with the ability to focus on complex layers of flavors and differentiate them.

In fact, when you apply for a job as a professional taster, your tongue is the real interviewee, says Schroeder. “You [will] go through multiple screenings that focus on your experience with food and how you taste things,”

Learn to speak taste.

An excellent sense of taste alone won’t get you very far as a professional if you can’t communicate what you’re experiencing. “Learning how to describe foods and their attributes is a key part of the role,” Freiman says.

“For example, I cannot just say a product tastes ‘good.’ But I can describe a lemon with ‘it’s sweet but tart with a harsh bite.’”

Train the palate.

Here’s what McCall’s palate training was like: “We had aroma jars with different attributes and worked on creating the sensory memory of the different flavors,” she recalls.

Schroeder says she underwent six months of training. “I was trained to identify and refer back to specific tastes, textures, and other aspects of the ingredients we use,” she describes.

No culinary school necessary.

“Contrary to what many people might think, you do not need to go to culinary school to become a professional taste tester,” says Freiman. “I didn’t.”

Of course, Freiman admits she works with people who did graduate from culinary school.

“But,” she says, “I find it more important that a candidate is hard working, curious, and has a passion for food. This career takes years of dedication and training—and having such a love for this [career and for food] really makes the difference.”

Understand the evolving consumer.

It’s also important to stay in touch with what consumers are demanding.

“In this role, you must regularly talk to consumers about their taste preferences, learn how they cook, and what new foods they are interested in,” says Freiman.

With this information, you’ll be better armed to recommend recipe changes based on taste and consumer demand.

Never stop learning and refining your palate.

“There is always an opportunity to improve” says McCall as a professional taster.

She advises, “really pay attention while you are eating and drinking, think about the flavors and always work on describing what you are eating—in and out of work—even if you are just describing it to yourself,” she says.

In agreement, Schroeder points out:“Attend trainings when you can, even on products outside of your area of expertise.”

“Overall, my No. 1 piece of advice for an aspiring taste tester is to expand your food horizons and to try all kinds of foods,” Schroeder says.

It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it.

Should You Design Packaging Yourself or Have it Done for You?

Should You Design Packaging Yourself or Have it Done for You?

Making Those Critical Decisions on Branding and Packaging

As a business owner, one of your primary objectives is to keep your running costs as low as possible. When it comes to package design, you may be tempted to cut corners, especially if the customer will simply discard the packaging after receiving your product.

One of the simplest ways to save packaging costs is to design the packaging yourself. However, depending on your in-house team’s design skills, designing packaging yourself may not be the best idea.

Your product’s packaging is significant, and it can have a real effect on the way your customer views your brand and the quality of your product.

Some of the benefits of hiring a professional to design your packaging include:

Save Time

If you don’t have the necessary skills and experience, designing your packaging yourself can take a lot of valuable time, especially if you have to do research beforehand and if you want to try out different packaging designs.

Handing the project over to a professional will not only free up you up to spend more time on other aspects your business, but a professional designer will typically only needs a couple of days to put an effective design together.

Save Money

Saving money may seem like an unlikely benefit of hiring a professional, but if your product is on the market for several years, getting the package design right the first time will ensure that you won’t have to change it again.

Optimal Value

Something that many business owners tend to forget is that they can pile on the product value with their packaging which, in turn, will allow them to stand out from the competition. Coffee, for example, that is packaged in a decorative tin can, delivers higher value to the buyer than disposable coffee packaging.

Professional packaging designers are usually familiar with the best ways to maximize the product’s functionality with packaging. By designing your packaging yourself, you run the risk of losing out on the opportunity to differentiate your product effectively.

First Impression

Product packaging communicates an expectation in terms of quality and durability. Poorly designed packaging may tell the customer that they may be dealing with a product that is substandard.

A professional package design, on the other hand, will ensure that your customer views your product in a favourable light from the moment they receive it.

Consistency

A high-quality package design will contribute to branding uniformity across every customer-facing aspect of your business. A designer will take existing fonts, colour pallets, and textures into account when designing your product packaging.

Product packaging that is in sync with the rest of your business branding will ensure that your business appears more trustworthy, professional, and memorable.

Some Final Words

If you sell products in the food industry, you really should have a package designer with extensive experience in custom food formulation and private labelling to look professional, and be professional.

Dure Foods offers assistance with high-quality packaging options. Contact us here to find out more about our wide range of services.