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Flavour is the sensory impression of food or other substance, and is determined mainly by the chemical senses of taste and smell. Flavorant is defined as a substance that gives another substance flavor, altering the characteristics of the solute, causing it to become sweet, sour, tangy etc. Flavor is an important aspect that keep customers happy and persuade them to come back and buy the same product. There are two categories of flavors- Natural flavors and Artificial flavors. The flavor of the food, as such, can be altered with flavorants, which affect the senses.
Those who add flavor to the products are referred by the term Food Flavorist or Flavor Chemists. Flavorists are chemists who create flavors for food and other products. Flavor chemists or flavorists, make food taste good. The job involves not just mixing various ingredients to create artificial and natural flavors; but requires an in-depth knowledge of aroma chemicals, essential oils, plant extracts etc. Research and development; experimentation is an important part of the job. These professionals essentially create unique flavor combinations in a laboratory setting known as test kitchens. Laboratories are frequently equipped with standard kitchen equipment such as microwaves, stoves, blenders, and even complete kitchens. Most challenging aspect of this profession is that not only should the materials and chemicals a flavorist utilizes for flavor creation make food tasty, but it must also meet the standards prescribed by the Indian Government. To be more specific,it must be safe for human consumption.
Food flavorist is a relatively new career in the food industry. As the career is closely related to chemistry, those with a degree in chemistry can opt for this career. Today, the vast majority of everything we eat includes natural flavors or artificial flavors developed by these professionals. As such, in products from potato chips to toothpaste to ice cream, food flavorist have their role to play.
To enter the field of flavours, one must have at least a B.Sc. or M.Sc. in Chemistry or Biochemistry with some experience in the industry. A basic knowledge of food technology will be an added advantage. A student could take an undergraduate degree in either chemistry or biology and then go on to receive their masters in a food science program. A Ph.D. is usually required for independent research, teaching at a university, and for executive positions in a company. In India, flavour or perfumery schools are rare, hence emphasis is given to specialisation in Chemistry.
Central Food Technological Research Institute, Mysore offers various short term courses as well as research opportunities in the field of food flavoring. The department of plantation products, spices and flavor technology engages in research and development activities in the areas of spices, coffee, tea, natural food colours and flavors.
For a food flavorist, keen sense of taste and smell is the main requirement. He /she should have keenness to experience new smells. Flavorist must be creative, intuitive, motivated, dedicated and able to work in a team. Patience and willingness to experiment are also important. One must have computer skills to handle databases, spreadsheets, softwares etc. They must also have a general understanding of food composition.
If you have a passion for food and chemistry, then a career as a Food Flavorist or Flavor Chemist may be the right choice for you.
As Food Flavoring improves the taste and marketability of foods, food processing companies have a demand for food flavourists. In India, most number of flavoring companies are concentrated in North India. Hence the scope for this career in much more in northern states of India than in any other state. Candidates with chemistry foundation are given in house training by companies to gain specified knowledge in the field.
Food flavorists are employed mainly by industries, in food-processing and ingredient supply. Candidate have opportunities with the tea, coffee and wine industry as well. Some flavorists work for food production companies, another option includes working in flavor houses - companies that create flavors in a lab for numerous purposes. Being expensive for small food manufacturers to hire, flavorists typically work for flavor houses. These flavor houses often sell the finished flavor extracts to food manufacturers, and can also provide consulting services to a company to help produce specific flavors for its products. SN Kelkar, Mumbai is one of the largest flavors and fragrance houses in India.
Opportunities for flavorists are not limited to the food and beverage industry alone. Flavors are added not only to food stuffs, but to items like toothpaste, beverages, medications, dishwashing liquids, cosmetics etc. Therefore Flavorist have opportunities in companies that manufacture skin creams, cosmetics, hair care products, and other products that exude fragrances. Flavorists have also penetrated the pharmaceutical industry to remedy the usual bitter taste of medicines. The demand for distinct flavors in other household products such as dishwashing liquids and detergents now require the services of flavorists.
Salary in this filed is based mainly on experience and the ability to blend flavors. A fresher in the industry can expect around Rs.10,000-15,000/- per month. However one with experience and a reputation in the field can earn even lakhs through this profession.
To get the list of institutes conducting courses in the subject field click on the course name
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