People with degrees in food science can apply for food testing jobs. Ice cream tasting is one of these options and can be a rewarding career. If you love frozen treats and want to become an ice cream taster, you might benefit from learning what the job involves. In this article, we discuss what an ice cream taster is, their duties and the steps you can follow to become one.
What is an ice cream taster?
An ice cream taster is a professional who evaluates and tastes frozen treats. Ice cream tasters are food scientists with an excellent sense of taste. Other names for ice cream taster include flavorologist, sensory analyst and taste master. The ice cream taster position combines science, business and marketing. It requires creativity to invent new concoctions that have the right texture and a desire to experiment with taste combinations that customers like. Ice cream tasters usually have skills such as patience, imagination and a discerning palate to evaluate different flavors.
Ice cream taster is an in-demand profession. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the employment of food scientists to increase by 6% between 2019 and 2029, which is faster than the average for all occupations. Some ice cream tasters work in kitchen freezers, while others work in a laboratory to create different flavors. Their average salary is $68,970 per year and can vary depending on the employer, the location and the candidate's experience.
Read more How to make sorbet without an ice cream maker
Related: How To Become a Food Scientist in 3 Steps
What does an ice cream taster do?
An ice cream taster assesses the quality of ice cream on a flavor, consistency, smell, texture and appearance level. Ice cream tasters start working early in the morning when their taste buds are in the best condition. Full-time tasters typically have a busy testing schedule and can taste as many as 30 flavors a day. They test the ice cream at different stages of production, for an average of 60 samples per day. Ice cream tasters do not eat the product. They swirl, smack and spit it out.
Ice cream tasters perform testing for about five hours of their workday and spend the rest of the day developing new products and combining new flavors. Ice cream tasters might also serve as marketing representatives for their organization. While their job description varies depending on the role and employer, an ice cream taster's duties might include:
Creating new chemical concoctions
Designing flavor concepts
Performing quality assurance tests
Beta-testing failed ice cream
Giving out ice cream samples
Ice cream tasters usually work for large corporations that manufacture ice cream. Their job might involve frequent travel. An ice cream taster often serves as a national spokesperson for the company and provides ice cream samples at supermarkets around the country during ice cream season, which is from March to September.
Related: Guide To Quality Assurance
How to become an ice cream taster
You can follow these steps to become an ice cream taster:
1. Earn a university degree
Get a bachelor's degree in food science or dairy science to learn about food processing. Standard courses you can expect in a food science bachelor's program include:
Food quality control and management
Physical process in food manufacturing
Complete your study program with classes in business and product development. Take marketing classes to learn about brand management.
Related: Q&A: What Can I Do With a Food Science Degree?
2. Find an apprenticeship
Become an apprentice at an ice cream manufacturing company. This is the best way to learn about ice cream making. Apprenticeship is an industry-driven career pathway that allows future employees to gain paid work experience and employees to prepare their workforce. Through an apprenticeship, you can receive classroom instruction and earn additional academic credit and on-the-job training. An apprenticeship can also connect you with a mentor who can give you advice and help you advance in your career.
Take notes, check the freezer temperature, volunteer for focus groups and participate in as many activities as possible to immerse yourself in your future work environment. Completing an apprenticeship can increase your chances of employment because it allows you to earn a nationally recognized credential and gain the skills employers value. Companies often hire apprentices as full-time employees after their apprenticeship ends. You can find an ice cream taster apprenticeship through a job finder website or a job center.
Related: How Do Apprenticeships Work?
3. Take care of your palate
Take good care of your mouth and tongue. They must be free of flavors and healthy. Here are some tips that can help you keep a healthy palate:
Choose tea over coffee: Some beverages, such as coffee, can clog your taste buds. Some ice cream tasters drink only herbal decaf tea to cleanse their palates.
Use a gold-plated spoon: Plastic and wood utensils can leave a resin aftertaste in your mouth, which can impair your palate.
Avoid spicy food: Spicy food can interfere with your tasting abilities, so refrain from eating it.
Avoid smoking: Tobacco can damage your taste buds.
Insure your taste buds: Talented professional ice cream masters or their employers might insure their taste buds.
4. Gain experience
To gain experience in ice cream tasting, consider working in an ice cream shop as a summer job while you are earning your college degree. You can gain practical knowledge about ice cream preservation, flavors and consumer preferences. Practice assessing various aspects and distinguishing each ingredient of the ice cream you taste. Also, learn to name and describe those characteristics to customers.
You can also apply for an entry-level job as an assistant production manager or a quality control professional to gain valuable experience. From there, you can advance to an ice cream taster career.
Some ice cream manufacturers offer opportunities to novice testers. You can sign up for occasional testing that lasts one hour and receive $20 compensation. This can be an easy way to try out the profession and train your taste buds.
Jobs related to ice cream tasters
If you're interested in becoming an ice cream taster or other professions in the food industry, there are several options to consider. Here's a list of 10 jobs similar to ice cream tasters:
1. Food scientist
3. Sensory analyst
5. Beverage manager
6. Pastry chef
7. Wine steward
8. Sous chef
9. Kitchen manager
10. Dining room manager
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