Flavor Chemist: Salary, Job Description and Duties

Most flavor chemists work in flavor houses and sell their products to companies needing flavor additives for their products. Learn about the job duties, profile, and salary for a flavor chemist to determine if this is the right career for you.

Flavor chemists work in labs, studying and manipulating food's composition to make it taste better, replicate a specific taste, or develop a new one. These professionals should hold at least a bachelor's degree or higher, likely in chemistry or food science.

Essential Information

Flavor chemists enhance natural flavors and create new ones using various scientific applications and creative thinking. For chemists in general, the entry-level academic requirement is a bachelor's degree, though many advanced career tracks require a master's or doctoral degree.

Required Education Bachelor's degree for entry level; many advanced research positions call for graduate degrees
Other Requirements Prior lab experience is useful
Projected Job Growth 3% for all types of chemists
Median Annual Wage (2014) $67,091 for food chemists

Sources: * U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), **PayScale.com.

Flavor Chemist Salary

PayScale.com reported in September 2014 that food chemists, a group that includes flavor chemists, who earned gross annual salaries in the 10th-90th percentile range took home $30,581-$89,396. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary among all types of chemists was $77,860 as of 2015.

Flavor Chemist Job Description

Flavor chemists, also called flavorists, work primarily in the food, beverage, pharmaceutical, cosmetic, and pet industries. They use scientific and analytical tools, along with creativity, to boost natural flavors and create new ones.

Flavor Chemist Duties

Flavor chemists examine the characteristics of proteins, fats, starches, carbohydrates, natural flavors, and other components. They determine the role each component has in a particular flavor or food and explore how that role is affected by additives. Flavor chemists develop flavors that remain sharp even when put through various methods of food preparation such as processing, freezing, cooking, or boiling.

Essential oils, plant extracts, aroma chemicals, natural flavors, and artificial ingredients are all manipulated by flavor chemists to develop new flavors. Flavor chemists can create flavors that smell better, have a more distinct taste, and last longer than natural flavors. They can also reformulate flavors so they don't irritate consumers' allergies.

Before flavor chemists can enhance a natural flavor, they must first recreate the natural flavor in the lab. To do this, flavor chemists are reliant on previous research from flavor chemists who figured out the chemical makeup of a majority of naturally-occurring flavors. The research enables flavor chemists to use various mathematical formulas that indicate how much of certain substances must be blended together to achieve certain characteristics.

People want to eat food that's pleasing to their palate, and a flavor chemist's job is to fulfill that desire by experimenting with various foods and extracts. A bachelor's degree is the minimum requirement, and advanced positions call for graduate study. As last updated in 2014, food chemists earned a median annual pay of $67,091.

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