Lisa Schroeder has a pretty sweet job.
For the past 16 years, she has worked for Mars Chocolate — a segment of the $33 billion Mars candy, petcare, and beverage company. Mars Chocolate produces 29 candy brands in total, including the billion-dollar global brands M&M’s, Snickers, Dove, Milky Way, and Twix.
As a sensory technologist for the company, Schroeder’s job is to taste-test chocolate. Earlier this year, Business Insider spoke to her to find out how she landed this dream job, what she does all day, and what advice she has for aspiring taste testers.
We also asked her to share some facts about her job that people might find surprising.
Here’s what she had to say:
1. Taste testers don’t actually eat the food; they evaluate it
No, Mars taste testers do not sit around scarfing down Snickers bars all day.
“We don’t consume the samples that we’re tasting every day, but we manipulate them and chew them to test their taste and texture, along with aromatics and other characteristics,” Schroeder explains.
2. She never gets sick of chocolate
“I’m just very picky about quality — life is too short to eat bad chocolate,” Schroeder says.
Her favourite is Dove brand chocolate, “but I like them all.”
3. Taste testers don’t analyse everything they eat
Even though she’s a trained taste tester, Schroeder says she doesn’t analyse everything she eats outside of work.
“When I’m not at work, I enjoy my food just like everybody else. However, if I’m out at a restaurant, I’ll be able to tell the quality or age of the oil they’re using, or know if they’re using stale ingredients. Otherwise, I don’t over-think the food I eat when I’m not at work.”
4. They don’t just test food to see if it’s good or bad
“The biggest misconception about my job is the reason we taste in the first place,” she says. “Most people don’t realise how scientific my job is. People assume it’s as simple as a thumbs up or down, but it’s a much more complicated process. Our taste testers are highly trained professionals, used to ensure quality products.”
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