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
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
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.