What does it mean to be a master flavorist?

By Deirdre Piggott

You don’t have to look very far to see that today’s consumers are taking increased interest and pleasure in flavors.

Ever wonder who comes up with the flavors in your favorite foods and beverages?

Enter the Master Flavorist.

Officially, the role of a master flavorist is to expertly develop flavor systems—including flavor duplications, new creations and modifications across a broad range of profiles and applications. At Sensient, our flavorists work passionately to create custom flavors to help propel our customers’ products into greatness. We also work to provide customers with solutions to product and industry challenges through new ingredients and technologies.

Because flavor design is a blend of art and science, training includes on-the-job experience as well as rigorous study of flavor chemistry and certification.

Certification Process

Not unlike the progression of a chef in the restaurant business from line cook, sous chef and ultimately, executive chef, the typical path of a flavorist requires several steps.

A professional flavorist usually earns a degree in microbiology, chemistry or food science before launching his or her career in the lab as a technician working under the guidance of senior-level flavorists. To become an apprentice (also known as a junior flavorist), lab technicians must successfully complete a comprehensive written exam and panel interview with a professional trade organization.

Flavorist trainees are required to complete a minimum of five years of training under the direct supervision of a senior-level flavorist. In addition to completing the apprenticeship program, apprentices must also pass oral and written exams in order to achieve the designation of Flavorist (also known as flavor chemist). Master flavorists usually have at least 20 years of direct experience. At Sensient, we have 25 Flavorists. Of which six are Chief/Master Flavorists.

Sensient Flavorist Trainee Program

In addition to the standard industry requirements, Sensient Flavors has developed its own on-the-job Flavorist Trainee Program which ultimately leads to a knowledge of up to 4,500 raw materials, as well as formulation, application sensory, regulatory and consumer insights knowledge.

Check out Sensient’s training program to learn more about how you can experience the thrill of collaborating with passionate flavorists to grow ideas from words on a whiteboard to innovative, in-demand products on grocery store shelves.