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What They Do

Insider Info

A sensory analyst provides feedback about products based on aroma, taste, texture and appearance. That feedback helps to detect and correct flaws in product ingredients and in the creation process.

Sensory analysts work with descriptive panels, usually consumers, to gather impressions and acceptance rates data.

This is then used to report on product quality and consistency, or to make recommendations concerning changes or improvements that should be made to the product.

Sensory analysts work in an office setting. They generally work five days and about 40 to 50 hours per week. Some may also work in labs.

They may be found in government offices, food and beverage companies, consulting groups, personal care companies and universities.

Some sensory analysts also become entrepreneurs, opening their own consulting businesses.

During the course of a day, a sensory analyst might taste test foods for a professional opinion, discuss impressions with a consumer tasting panel or analyze collected data using computer modules.

Once data has been gathered, the findings must be presented in a report.

Sometimes, workers with other job titles may do the same tasks as sensory analysts. Lynda Sanderson works as a product development specialist for a food technology center. She is one example.

Although her job title does not include the words sensory analyst, Sanderson says that is part of her product development work. "We do sensory analysis internally and other analytical measurements on the food," she says. "It's a very diverse job."

Food scientists may also perform sensory analysis as part of their job.

Currently, the question of whether genetically modified foods should be marketed to consumers is being hotly debated among food scientists and the public. By tinkering with the genes of these foods, scientists may produce a larger harvest or crops that are resistant to diseases.

Irradiation technology is also getting attention from experts in this field. That's exposure of food to ionizing energy (radiation) to achieve results such as reducing bacterial contamination.

Sensory analysts also work in the cosmetics and perfume industries. For instance, they could be charged with finding out the public reaction to the color and fragrance of a new perfume.

Although there are many male sensory analysts, women are generally considered to have sharper, more accurate senses, and therefore are better suited to the job. Additionally, younger people are believed to have more accurate senses because people lose taste buds as they age.

This work is not physically demanding. You'll need a good sense of taste and smell, and sight that can at least be corrected by glasses.

At a Glance

Give feedback on products based on aroma, taste, texture and appearance

  • Current issues of concern include genetically modified foods and the use of irradiation
  • You can work in the food or cosmetics industries
  • A degree in food science is recommended


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