How to Become a Flavorist


Those who are successful as flavorists are strong in academics and are emotionally stable, as this is required to complete short and long-term tasks. They must also be educated in food chemistry, biology and laboratory testing and experimentation techniques, and have a natural aptitude in these areas. 


Typically, successful traits include a keen interest in food and food flavour, and taking enjoyment out of working in an industry where research relating to it can be conducted, and applied to the improvement of food flavouring. A flavorist must also be comfortable working in a laboratory setting, and communicating their findings and opinions to others.


Below we've outlined what you'll need to become a flavorist. We've also included helpful information for this career, such as job description, job duties, salary expectations, a list of possible employers and much more!



Education Needed to Become a Flavorist

In order to get a junior-level job in flavour chemistry, such as a laboratory technician or research assistant, you typically need a bachelor’s degree in an area such as chemistry, biology, biochemistry, food science or a related area. Whichever specific major you choose, pursuing the following coursework during your undergraduate years will help you develop the fundamental knowledge necessary for a career as a flavorist.


• Chemistry, biology and physics for background knowledge in science

• Statistics and mathematics for result analysis

• Psychology and marketing, for understanding consumers

• Chemical engineering or food technology for an understanding of product development


A master’s degree in an area related to food or flavour chemistry will qualify you to become a flavorist. Research and teaching positions in post-secondary institutions (especially universities) generally require a doctoral degree in an area related to flavor chemistry, sensory science or food science.


A graduate degree in a related area, or an accrual of work experience in food manufacturing and distribution will allow you to move into a variety of positions within food chemistry, such as:


• Supervisory or management levels of quality assurance, inspection and regulation

• Positions in marketing and sales

• New product development, and process research and development

• Regulatory positions with federal and provincial/state government agencies





General Job Description

Flavorists, also known as "flavour chemists", are research scientists that are primarily concerned with how to improve the flavour of food and beverage products. To do this, they study how the properties of food ingredients interact with our sensory organs, and apply that knowledge to the development of natural and artificial flavours.


Some examples of what flavorists do include figuring out how to give cereals artificial flavors and colors, and making corn chips taste like salsa when there are no fruit or vegetables involved in the product.



Typical Job Duties

• Use knowledge of how ingredients function and interact

• Study the properties of proteins, fats, starches, carbohydrates, additives and flavour components

• Use natural and artificial ingredients to replace flavour that was removed by reducing fat or sugar

• Liaise with production plant engineers

• Direct the work activities of food technicians and laboratory assistants

• Produce food product samples for testing and scrutiny

• Ensure that food products meet company and government health and safety regulations

• Maintain detailed records of research and work activities



Who Employs Flavorists?

Flavorists are mainly employed with organizations that conduct research for the purpose of improving the flavour of food and beverage products. They may also be hired by organizations in other sectors of industry that produce products that need to have a good scent (such as beauty products), as well as academic organizations and regulatory agencies.


Organizations that employ them include:


• Flavour houses (sells finished extracts to small food manufacturers and distributors)

• Large food manufacturing organizations

• Colleges and universities

• Private research firms

• Federal and provincial/state government agencies

• Food flavour consulting companies

• Companies that manufacture cosmetics, hair care products, skin creams and other products

• Pharmaceutical companies





Typical Salary Level

The salary levels of flavorists can vary, depending on factors such as the professional's level of experience, their level of education, where they work, the specific responsibilities of their job, and many others.


Flavorist Salary United States: According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary level of workers in the Chemists and Materials Scientists occupational group is $69,790 per year. 


Salary - Canada: According to the 2018 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans working in the "chemistsoccupational group earn an average salary of $79,450 per year. According to the Province of British Columbia's WorkBC website, the provincial median salary of chemists is $63,003 per year. Unfortunately, no similar statistics were available from reliable sources for other Canadian provinces or territories at the time of writing (July 19, 2019).



Lab Skills and Knowledge Base

In order to become a flavorist, you need to have a certain knowledge base and set of laboratory skills. This knowledge base and skill set are typically acquired throughout the undergraduate and graduate years of study in chemistry through coursework and related lab work.


• Basic understanding of microbiology, including microorganisms and food spoilage

• Flavour interactions with processed foods (carbohydrates, proteins, fats)

• Instrumentation - separation, isolation and identification of flavour components

• Laboratory techniques for isolation of flavour components for further study

• Extraction techniques (use of various volatile solvents to extract flavour volatiles)

• Distillation techniques (use of distillation equipment to isolate flavour components)

• Separation techniques (instrumentation and wet chemistry to separate and isolate flavour components)

• Knowledge of flavour profiles of various foods and beverages as references

• Understand basic tests used to determine sensory differences, matches, quantitative profiles

• Able to use databases, spreadsheets and industry-specific software



Open Flavorist Jobs

Our job board below has "flavorist" postings in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia.




Career Profiles Similar to This One

Listed below are careers in our database that are similar in nature to "flavorist", as they may involve many of the same skills, competencies and responsibilities.



Food Chemist

Food Scientist

Food Technologist

Sensory Scientist




Please use the references below to find more information on the various aspects of a career as a flavorist.


Occupations in Alberta:Chemist.” (March 5, 2018). ALIS website - Alberta Learning Information Service. Retrieved November 22, 2019.

Life, Physical, and Social Science:Chemists and Materials Scientists.” (September 4, 2019). Occupational Outlook Handbook - United States Bureau of Labor Statistics website. Retrieved November 22, 2019.

Explore Careers:Chemists.” (July 5, 2018) WorkBC website. Retrieved November 22, 2019.

College to Career:Agricultural and Food Chemistry.” (n.d.). American Chemical Society website. Retrieved November 22, 2019.

Resources:FAQs.” (n.d.). The Society of Flavor Chemists website. Retrieved November 22, 2019.



Relevant Scholarships

Scholarships in our database that are relevant for becoming a flavorist are all of those that can be found on our Chemistry Scholarships and Nutrition Scholarships pages.


Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any scholarships that you even barely qualify for, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants!



Applicable University Majors

Studying one of the university majors listed below is an excellent starting point for getting started in this field. Click on the links to find out what else you can do with these majors!


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