Gum Taster Jobs
Humans have chewed gum for thousands of years. The first commercially available gum hit the market in 1848. Since then, gum has blossomed into a multi-billion dollar global industry. Not only does gum taste great and provide fresher breath, it also has been proven to improve memory and increase processing speeds. Hopefully you’re chewing gum right now!
When was the last time you had a stick of gum? Do you enjoy chewing gum? How about bubblegum? What’s your favorite flavor? Describe it. This is what gum tasters get paid to do.
Gum tasters chew gum and blow bubbles for a job. A stick of gum only weighs a few grams, but it is packed full of flavor technology. Working alongside gum scientists, called gumologists, gum tasters spend countless hours trying to perfect the taste of your favorite gum. A gum taster plays provides valuable feedback that helps the gumologist tweak the taste through the various stages of gum development. Chewing gum is a pretty cool way to make a living.
We learned about this job when we found an interesting article in the NY Times that provides an inside look at Sue McNamara’s job as a gum taster. McNamara works at the Cadbury Schweppes Science and Technology Center where she chews gum for a living. Well, it’s a bit more complicated than that. Let’s take a look a closer look at gum taster jobs.
As you can imagine, a gum taster job is a highly desired position. It’s not a job typically listed on a job board. Most aspiring gum tasters hear about it through their network of connections. When there is an opening, gum companies whittle through hundreds of applicants to find the right person. Someone with a food science degree is ideal, but the key to landing the job is highly developed senses. Only 10% of Americans have the sensory skills of taste and smell required to do the job.
After being chosen, applicants must attend six months of taste training. In training, these sensory superheroes learn scales, terminology, measurement, and evaluation techniques. They become experts at tongue calibration, palate cleansing, neutral facial expressions, consistency, and many other things. Once they master these skills, they are ready to head to the flavor lab and work in the world of flavor technology.
Gum tasters do things like test flavors, blow and measure bubbles, chew gum for pre-determined time periods, judge consistency, evaluate initial flavor, and provide feedback. It takes a trained palate to differentiate between the nuances of cinnamon, peach, mint, fruit, strawberry, wintergreen, peppermint, spearmint, tropical, watermelon, blueberry, and other gum flavor gums. The gum taster’s input helps the gumologist adjust the flavor for perfection. This all happens before the gum flavor hits the market.
It’s hard to nail down the exact salary of a gum taster. One website we found says they make between $74,000 and $107,500 dollars per year. Not a bad salary when working for a cool company like Cadbury’s, Wrigley’s, Trident, or Dentyne in a multi-billion dollar niche. But gum tasters are essentially just food and flavor testers – a job that exists for nearly every food you can purchase at the grocery store. The majority of food testers make an annual salary of about $58,000 per year. Pay varies based on industry, experience, employer, and other factors.
Gum tasters will never be replaced by robots. Human beings are needed to accurately describe flavors and evaluate flavor explosions and long lasting flavor. This requires a trained and talented gum connoisseur with world-class taste buds. If you love chewing gum and blowing bubbles, why not find a job as a gum taster? It’s a job that will make all of your friends jealous.
Quick Facts About Gum Taster Jobs
Job Title: Gum Taster (Sometimes Called Gumologists)
Office: Flavor lab
Description: Chew gum and provide feedback on flavor
Necessary Skills: Highly developed taste buds and senses
Potential Employers: Gum Companies
Pay: $58,000 per year