General Career Questions

What is a Flavor Chemist?

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.

What is Flavor Chemistry?

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.

What is the difference between a flavorist and a flavor chemist?

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

What education/skills are important for a Flavor Chemist to have?

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.

What are the differences between a Perfumer and a Flavor Chemist?

A flavorist uses natural and synthetic approved flavor chemicals to achieve a desired taste and flavor perception.  A perfumer uses natural and synthetic chemicals to achieve a desired fragrance.  Fragrances are not designed for ingestion.  The two careers share many skills.

Where can I find courses or seminars that pertain to the Flavor Industry?

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 magazine, University of Minnesota, FKS, IFT, and through individual flavor companies.

How can I find an internship at a Flavor Company?

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.

What resources or literature is available that relates to the career of a Flavor Chemist?

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

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