‘I’M A CHOCO­LATE taster’

Mon­delez is a con­fec­tionery busi­ness that does data anal­y­sis on choco­late, and chew­ing and bub­ble gum. In sim­ple speak, it’s a place where peo­ple eat lots and lots of candy. Grethe Koen pays them a visit

CityPress - - T# - Want to be a choco­late taster? Email Mon­delez at con­sum­ersa@mdlz.com Food sci­ence is of­fered at var­i­ous uni­ver­si­ties in South Africa, in­clud­ing Stel­len­bosch and the Univer­sity of Pre­to­ria

The choco­late team

It’s about uni­for­mity. If you bought a choco­late from Pick n Pay two years ago in Cape Town, and you buy a slab from Spar in Dur­ban now, you want to be guar­an­teed you’ll get the same taste you have come to know.

This is where Mon­delēz and its team of sci­en­tists and tasters come in.

Apart from the food sci­en­tists and staff at Mon­delēz, they re­cruit teams of choco­late tasters – con­sumers who come in ev­ery day to eat choco­late and rate it. They work four days a week for two hours a day.

The choco­late tasters ei­ther have group ses­sions – where they come to­gether and col­lab­o­rate their re­sponses to the tast­ing – or they sit in spe­cial cu­bi­cles where they are fed choco­late and must rate the taste.

The cu­bi­cles are called hutches and are de­signed ac­cord­ing to a global stan­dard – each hutch is cor­doned off on both sides to elim­i­nate any sen­sory pol­lu­tion or out­side in­flu­ences.

In front is a slid­ing panel where the sci­en­tists push the piece of choco­late through. Above the hutch Happy work­ers

I met some of th­ese tasters, who were, un­sur­pris­ingly, an ex­tremely happy bunch of peo­ple.

My first ques­tion was whether they ever get sick of eat­ing so much choco­late, to which I got a re­sound­ing no.

Most of the tasters say they are choco­holics, and since you are only al­lowed a max­i­mum of eight choco­late sam­ples a day, they do not feel over­loaded.

Al­though they only re­ceive a small stipend per ses­sion, the tasters say it’s a fas­ci­nat­ing, ed­u­ca­tional and in­ter­est­ing job.

So what does it take to be a choco­late taster? Firstly, you should not have di­a­betes, and it is pre­ferred that you are a non­smoker.

You should also be able to ar­tic­u­late what you are tast­ing and be able to work within a group.

Lastly, you should be an ab­so­lute choco­holic, in­ter­ested in ev­ery nu­ance of its taste. Af­ter all, there’s no point in be­ing a choco­late taster if you don’t like choco­late.

CANDY LAND The mag­i­cal, mar­vel­lous en­trance of Mon­delez

CHOCO­HOLIC Mon­delez does a great deal of work for Cad­bury – mak­ing sure ev­ery slab tastes just right

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