Sally McKinnon, 32, is a product development manager for Tesco. She buys and astes chocolates for the supermarket's seasonal ranges.
Sally is one lucky women who actually tastes seasonal chocolates (as part of her job) and brings out special ranges for Christmas, Easter, Valentine's Day and Mothering Sunday for a company named Tesco. She needs to plan each range really far in advance because it needs a lot of tasting to get that perfect mellow taste.
She does a lot of market research and hold tasting sessions in the store around the country to find out the taste of the majority and to what are their likings on special occasions. Also to find out what kind of chocolate people like from different areas. She keep looking for the new chocolates and daily consumers for that products, keeps a close watch on it. And for that she travels around the globe like she would go to Brussels to taste chocolates there to find out their taste which helps her in developing new tastes.
Sally did an honors degree in food science at the University of Aberdeen, then worked for an ice-cream supplier, developing new flavors. Before getting into this job of chocolate tasting, she worked for Tesco on their sandwiches range, yoghurts and desserts- and even sushi. It's the best job in the world that's what she says. "I get paid to taste chocolate every day. My desk is absolutely covered with chocolate- it's fantastic. I really enjoy working as a part of a team, developing the chocolate ranges." as she calls it. Everyone's interested in the product so there's never any shortage of volunteers for the chocolate tasting session, who would not want to eat chocolate for free? A chocolate taster as to often get to visit places like Paris, Brussels or New York to see what kind of chocolate is selling hot there. And it is such a pleasure watching people buying and liking the chocolate you developed.
To do this job well, you need to enjoy food and to be enthusiastic and passionate about chocolate. Also should be aware of the latest trends and update about the market. The job involves a lot of interaction with supplier, design agencies who do the packaging, and of course, customers. So the job also demands you to be a people person with a good and clear communication and should have a good knowledge about the product.
You need a good qualification or a degree in nutrition or food science. Gert some experience in product development, from the retail side or the supplier side.
You can get more information on training from Improve, the Sector Skills Council for the food and drink industry, at www.improveltd.co.uk; or the institute of Consumer Science at www.icsc.org.uk. Got a sweet tooth? Then this job is for you!