Did you ever think you could get paid to eat chocolate? At Harrisburg University, your dream could come true. To help students learn, the school's Food Science and Technology Center is looking for taste testers.
While biotechnology students are learning about food safety and quality in the new consumer insights lab, the program supports product development. Local companies have their food sampled for any reason - maybe after an ingredient change, or when they are launching a new product.
The program is looking for hungry people. "They'll actually sample and experience the product, and then they'll give feedback," said Dr. Rene Massengale, Director of Food Science and Technology.
Student Jason Weinbrecht got the fun job of taste testing chocolate kisses Tuesday, but students typically run the taste testing sessions and do not participate in them.
"[Students] have an opportunity to see the different projects from start to finish, and learn how a company actually utilizes this data or integrates this information into their product development process," Massengale said.
Weinbrecht said the process is more complicated than he expected. "There's a certain way you have to administer the tests, and protocols you have to follow. It's a little more in-depth than I thought it would be," he said.
Food samplings can last anywhere from ten minutes to two hours. Taste testers get paid with cash, coupons, or gift cards for their help.
The lab opened with the help of a grant from Hershey, so right now a lot of the test foods are chocolate. But professors say other snack food companies in the midstate are also looking to take advantage of the opportunity to have their foods tested.