As a freelance illustrator, Matthew taste-tested frozen foods to make ends meet. Everything from frozen Chinese food to French fries, he ate it. Four hours a day, for 3 days of the week. And for $16.50 an hour, it almost seemed worth it. But it wasn’t—this job isn’t what it’s cracked up to be.
The excessive salt would cause terrible blisters in his mouth. Fried food has never appealed to him since. What was most interesting about the experience was seeing the reality behind the food we eat. Focus groups play a major part in every aspect of our food; taste, color, smell—it’s all worked on by a panel of people like him. All major food processing corporations share this process.
The hiring process for this position was truly absurd. A so-called “sensory panelist” for frozen food manufacturers must go through a ridiculous training period. For example, trainees were told to try strange liquids, or fed through a small window in cups. The trainees then had to identify what they were tasting.
Some of them were basic flavors, like sour, salty and bitter. Other solutions had more complicated flavors, and we had to match foods to things like lemon and cherry.
Regardless of your thoughts on this job, it’ll definitely be more interesting than you think; either good or bad.
Source: The Bill Fold