Imagine your dream job? Would it include tasting great foods? As hard as it may be to believe, people actually earn money as food tasters.
There are two basic kinds of food tasters in the food industry. The first are often employed by a manufacturer who wants to test a product before it goes on the market. These testers will also work to ensure that the quality remains consistent for existing products. This kind of food taster is usually referred to as a “supertaster.” Supertasters are folks that have a heightened sense of taste.
Although it may seem like a great job to be a supertaster – say tasting chocolate all day long – in actuality the amount of tests that can be done are rather limited. Most testers will only taste a handful of samples so they don’t really get to eat bon bons all day long. This is because their taste buds would get “tired” after too much of the same taste causing them to not be as effective at the end of the day as they were at the beginning of the day.
The second kind of taster is more your average person with an average sense of taste. Companies want to know from ordinary people how a product tastes because most people (i.e. their consumers) are not supertasters.
Food tasters often specialize in particular areas, but you can earn a good living tasting such things as cheese, olive oil, coffee, tea, jams, sauces, ice cream and many, many other products. Those who specialize in wine are called “sommeliers.”
So how would you find one of these jobs? Clearly, supertasters who are already chefs and those with a degree in Food Science will have an advantage for these jobs, but since ordinary people are needed too you should check out the quality assurance and research departments of any major food manufacturer. Fine restaurants and hotels may also offer such positions as well as some university sensory labs. Food testers can make from $23,000 to $47,000 per year depending upon the area of the country and expertise. And if you have the mind for it, dog food testers can make on average $40,000 per year.
Although these jobs can be hard to find – it is not impossible to find one. Keep your eyes open, check all the usual sources, but don’t ignore unusual ones like Craigslist. A few years back someone was advertising for a food taster because of his allergies so you just never know. Often it’s a case of just being aware that this type of work exists for it to happen.
Both supertasters and those with a more average sense of taste are needed in the food industry so there’s room for everyone. Personally, I think I would love to be a chocolate taster. That seems like it would be a very pleasant way to earn a living. I think I could enjoy many other tastes in a pinch. Mmmn – long hours of licking ice cream would be a nice job. But I think I’ll leave the dog food testing to someone else!