CHOCOHOLICS are needed to help a modern day Willy Wonka test the very latest in recipes.
Mondelēz International, which makes sweet treats under the brands Cadbury, Oreo, Milka and Green & Blacks, is searching for the part-time roles from its base at the University of Reading in Earley.
And it’s nice work if you can get it: the tasters will need to test chocolate and cocoa drinks and get paid.
Mondelēz said that the roles had to be part-time – no more than eight hours a week – in order to avoid the testers from getting ‘palate fatigue’.
Last year, the company advertised for similar roles and received more than 6,000 applications, which people applying from Australia and the United States for a chance to influence the future of chocolate bars the world over.
The advert was the fifth most viewed on LinkedIn last year.
The company said that last year’s successful candidate was Reading-based Angela Castleton who was hired after passing a series of ‘chocolatey challenges’ posed by the multi-national company.
These included being able to detect almost imperceptible differences between two pieces of chocolate – a vital skill for any taster and one which this year’s shortlisted applicants will also have to prove they possess.
Ms Castleton now works at Mondelēz International’s Reading Science Centre in the University’s ground, where the new jobs will also be based. The company said that this is where some of its most exciting innovations are dreamt up, using cutting-edge food science including electron microscopy and a device that acts as an artificial nose.
Since joining the team Angela’s panel has provided crucial feedback during the development of delicious new products including recently launched Green & Black Pralines.
Ms Castleton said: “I’m really enjoying the role. Of course it’s lovely tasting chocolate for a living but the best bit has to be working with my team – we get on brilliantly and we work really well together. This first year is a steep learning curve – there’s so much more to chocolate than you’d think – but the job has fitted into my life perfectly.”
However, there’s a warning to curry lovers: hot dishes may affect the tasting.
“You can’t eat spicy food for 24 hours before working and you can only drink water in the hour before – even sparkling water can affect your sense of taste,” she warned. “These rules sound simple but it did take a while to get used to – especially working out when to have lunch.”
Afsha Chugtai, Group Leader, Consumer Science, has overall responsibility for the tasting panels.
She said: “Chocolate tasters are vital to our business as their input helps us to perfect our products before they hit the shelves. As Angela has discovered, food science is a fascinating field and I can’t wait to see who makes the cut this year to join our 4,000 chocolate-loving employees across the UK who invent, test and make some of the nation’s favourite treats.”
Anyone wanting to apply has to be quick – the closing date is Friday, February 16.
Key responsibilities of the Chocolate Taster
- Be able to taste chocolate and cocoa beverage products and give objective and honest
- Work within a team of panellists to share opinions and collaborate to reach an agreement on taste.
- Use a clearly defined vocabulary to describe products and aid in the discrimination between products.
- Be consistent in the results given.
- Know the ethical and legal compliance responsibilities of the position; raise questions and concerns when faced with an ethical or compliance issue; apply integrity in all aspects of professional conduct.
Formal qualifications are not required as training is given, but certain qualities are essential including:
- A passion for confectionery and taste buds for detection
- Honesty when it comes to giving an opinion
- Eager to try new inventive products
- A communicative personality to build great relationships with your panel
- A firm grasp of the English language