This Is What Flavor Chemists Actually Do

If you aren't a huge science buff and haven't taken chemistry since your junior or senior year of high school, you probably haven't heard much about regular chemists, let alone a flavor one. Your typical run-of-the-mill chemists look at the properties of matter in things like atoms and molecules.

Of course, there are a few specialty areas of chemistry you may already be familiar with, like teaching, forensics, geochemistry, hazardous waste, and many others (via Mendeley). Flavor chemists still get to wear cool coats and work in labs like the chemists in these other professions, and a bachelor's degree in chemistry, biology, or food science is required to get a job in this field. PayScale estimates that these food scientists can earn anywhere from $41,000 to $65,000 at the start of their careers. So now that you know the salary, here's a look into what food chemists actually do for a living. 

It's all about getting the perfect flavor

There is a lot going on behind the scenes when it comes to the food we consume. Purdue University reports that food chemists are to thank for making sure food and beverages taste well and improve over time. 

Flavor chemists, also known as "flavorists" per, research and experiment with how ingredients interact with our sense of taste and smell. These professionals work hard to replicate specific tastes or to make new ones. They usually work in the food and beverage industry, but you can also find flavor chemists working in the pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, and pet industries. Using science, they are able to create and boost natural flavors. Simply put, they work hard to make sure food tastes great!

According to Purdue University, flavor chemists also evaluate how heating, canning, freezing, and packaging all impact and affect the quality of food. They play a significant role in determining if foods line up with their nutritional label requirements. They also play around with preservatives, food coloring, and additives to recreate certain aromas and different flavors. These palate pros get to create different flavor profiles and ingredients, while also acquiring expert knowledge in the chemical compound of ingredients. So if you love food and science, working as a flavor chemist just might be the perfect career.