The Society of Flavor Chemists is here to help you grow in your career as a flavorist.  As the flavor industry changes, so do your questions and comments.  With concerted queries and informative responses, we strive to provide satisfactory information for everyone’s benefit.

You’ll find the answer to a number of inquiries below and throughout the site.  However, if you have any questions that are not addressed below, please let us know.  We will add them as they are asked and answered to help build our repository of information.

Society Questions

The Society of Flavor Chemists (SFC) is a not-for-profit organization devoted to the advancement of the field of flavor technology and related sciences by:

  1. encouraging the exchange of ideas and personal contacts and
  2. by sponsoring and conducting meetings, lectures and symposia.
  3. Accrediting membership and encouraging professional growth.

To become a certified member of the society, the candidate must complete an approved seven year apprenticeship period as stipulated by our by-laws and then pass a review by the Membership Committee and acceptance by Member vote. Apprentice members must complete an approved five year apprenticeship period with a similar review.  Contact the Membership Committee for details.

The membership process is outlined here.

Membership in SFC is a self-regulated accreditation.  We test applicants to ensure they are, in practice, flavorists and meet established standards of knowledge and ability.  This is accepted by the flavor industry as a standard of excellence.

Yes, anyone may attend the public portions of SFC meetings.  These include educational and social activities of value to anyone in the flavor and food industries.  Business meetings are closed to the public, only members may attend.  We encourage guests, and would like to see you at a meeting.  Students and Emeritus Members enjoy a reduced meeting rate.  This is a great way to network with the SFC members.

Contact the Membership committee for requirements.  Generally speaking, you must be retired from active flavor development work, including consulting.

Contact the Committee chair of your choice, or contact the Mentorship Committee if you would like guidance regarding the committees.  The SFC is a society of peers, and we need dedicated people to help.

Contact our Nominating Committee or the Board Chair.  There is a formal nomination process you’ll need to start.

You will need to contact our Membership Committee.  You’ll want to have your work history on-hand, and if you have been out of the industry very long you may need to re-test to establish your credentials.

General Career Questions

Flavor chemists (also known as flavorists), develop flavors using natural and synthetic approved flavor chemicals and extracts for a wide variety of food and beverage products using creative and artistic talents along with various analytical tools including GC/MS. Another path for flavor development involves understanding how the chemistry of cooking generates taste and aroma, this is called reaction or processed flavors. A savory flavorist understands how to develop flavor profiles using these materials via specific heat and pressure parameters.

Flavor Chemistry is the artistic blending of approved chemicals and extracts to achieve a desired flavor profile for a specific food, or beverage product. The flavor may enhance, shift, or even mask the flavor of the food itself. In some cases the added flavor provides the full flavor profile of the product. Process or reaction flavor chemistry seeks to mimic or enhance the flavor of cooked foods. Sugars, amino acids and fats are used to mimic or enhance the cooking process.

There is no difference in these terms. They are used throughout the industry interchangeably.

In general a BS degree in food science or chemistry is desirable (and with some companies, a requirement).  A good memory, strong basic mathematic skills, creativity, and good sense of taste and smell are essential.

Educational opportunities relating to the career of a Flavor Chemist can be found through the educational sessions at The Society of Flavor Chemist meetings, SFC symposium, Perfumer and Flavorist magazineUniversity of MinnesotaFKSIFT, and through individual flavor companies.

Many food and flavor companies offer internships. Connect with industry social media such as LinkedIn. You can also attend trade organization meetings to network and explore opportunities for internships.

Literature recommendations can be found in The Society of Flavor Chemists Syllabus and includes the following:

John Wright, Flavor Creation

Steffan Arctander, Perfume and Flavor Chemicals

Dolf DeRovira, The Dictionary of Flavors

Burdock, Fenaroli’s Handbook of Flavor Ingredients

Earl Merwin, Flavor History

Earnest Guenther, The Essential Oils

Dr. Brian Lawrence, Essential Oils

Gary Reineccius, Flavor Chemistry and Technology, Source book of Flavors

Industry Periodicals

Perfumer and Flavorist

Journal of Agriculture

Food Technology

Food Engineering

Food Processing

Food Product Design

Food Chemical News

Industry Questions

Flavor companies do not generally sell directly to the public.  They are considered ingredient manufacturers. Their products are not considered finished food products.

Yes, flavor companies must comply with USDA and FDA rules for ingredients and processing.  Additional regulatory regimes may apply based on the final product.  For example, alcoholic beverages and meat products must follow additional regulations and disclosures.  Flavor manufacturing plants are subject to the same inspections and rules as any other food manufacturer.

As with any food manufacturer, flavor companies must also comply with trade rules and international food laws when importing or exporting products.

Increasingly greater attention is being paid to supply chains worldwide.  The flavor industry operates in a worldwide ingredient and sales environment, and many different legislative and trade agreements apply. Regulatory managers and staff play an ever-important role in the industry today, and this is considered a desirable specialty as ingredient traceability becomes mandatory.


Membership Renewal Questions

Our membership database is only as good as the information it contains.  By filling out the information during membership renewal, you will ensure your information is accurate.  The online renewal also accurately updates your status, so we know you’re an active member.  We would also like to remind you to update your profile after you renew.

Yes, you can renew by check.  Please use the online membership renewal system and indicate that you’ll pay by check.  Do this just like a credit card purchase, add to your cart and then select check payment.  Please enter a check number so the system knows you’re paying.  By using the online system you will automatically update your basic information in our database.

The old way was highly labor intensive.  Our Treasurer and other staff are all flavorists like you, and volunteer their time to keep the SFC a vibrant, valuable organization.  By using the new ecommerce system, all that work is now performed automatically. This ensures the information is accurate and your membership status is correct.

Yes, but we’d greatly prefer you use the online process. We have prepared a mail-in document for you to complete and send with a check. There is a $25 upcharge for this option, since someone must manually update your account.

No. Each member must renew separately. You must be logged into the site to purchase the membership. The renewal process updates the database. Our membership database is only as good as the information it contains. By filling out the information during membership renewal, you will ensure that information is accurate. The online renewal also accurately updates your status, so we know you’re an active member. You can send a single check for multiple people, though. Please enter the check number in each person’s renewal field. It will also be helpful if you include a list of those for whom this group check applies.

The FREE Emeritus membership exists so we know you’re an active member. If you don’t want to be an active Emeritus member, we can set your status in our records to Inactive. Our membership database is only as good as the information it contains. By filling out the information during membership renewal, you will ensure that information is accurate. The online renewal also accurately updates your status.

Website Questions

There’s a password recovery tool, but you will need your login ID.  The system will send an email to the address on file with instructions.  If you do not remember your login ID it is usually your first initial and last name.  If this is not correct, or you don’t receive an email (usually this means your email is incorrect or outdated), please contact the Website Committee.

Once you’re logged into the system you will see a bar at the top of the website. At the far right there’s a “howdy, (username)” and a slot for a thumbnail portrait. Mouse over this text and a dropdown menu will appear. Click on the Edit My Profile option and update everything you feel necessary. Please consider adding a profile picture, too.

First, you must be logged into the website. This is a tool for registered users only. Use the dropdown menu under the Members Area header. You will find multiple ways to search for people.


Email those photos to the Media Committee and thanks, you’re a peach!


Send an email to the website committee and we’ll make sure the question is forwarded to the proper people. Thanks for your interest!