Career Outlook: Sensory and Consumer Science
Sensory and consumer science is the light that guides the way forward for businesses by investigating what consumers really want. Sensory scientists spearhead product development for companies. Not only do they conduct research and testing to gauge what consumers are drawn to, but they also use it to inform the development and improvement of new products.
There is a wide range of jobs that rely on sensory science, all of which involve understanding a product’s sensory experience to improve its quality. Food scientists and technologists, research managers and directors, sensory scientists and sensory and consumer insight specialists are some of the many facets of sensory science.
“Sensory science is a broad and complex field with many strategic business applications. The methods taught and utilized in our field can be applied to nearly all types of products and services,” Rebecca Bleibaum, president/chief of sensory intelligence, Dragonfly SCI, Inc.
Jobs in Demand
Consumer and sensory scientists are valuable additions to any team, especially in industries that create highly interactive products. The food and beverage industries and personal care and cosmetics industries hire the most consumer sensory scientists; companies like Nestle or Mérieux NutriSciences keep sensory science professionals in high demand. As it is an up-and-coming field, there are some associations for industry news, events, networking opportunities and career development, including the Institute of Food Technologists and the Society of Sensory Professionals.
- Annual average salary: $82,004
- Job outlook 2019-2029: 6% (faster than average)
Source: Payscale.com and Bureau of Labor Statistics
When looking to hire sensory scientists, employers generally seek prospective employees with experience in marketing research, including a variety of consumer testing techniques, descriptive analysis methodologies and focus groups. Sensory scientists also need to be familiar with the various dimensions of conducting research, such as designing experiments, managing studies, statistical analysis and interpreting data, ensuring high quality results and communicating results with impact. Strong technical, interpersonal, collaborative and critical thinking skills go a long way in this field.
Earning a certificate in applied sensory and consumer science is a good way to build valuable skills. Our online Applied Sensory and Consumer Science Certificate Program is the only one of its kind and provides an introduction to the complex world of sensory science. This program combines academic and real-world expertise and explores new techniques, as well as the foundational theory behind current methods of sensory evaluation for both edible and non-edible products. You will learn various methods and approaches to sensory evaluation and consumer research from experienced sensory science professionals. Courses must be taken in sequential order as each course builds upon the concepts and skills developed in the previous course, and applicants must have fulfilled the prerequisite college-level statistics course.
- 4 courses, complete in less than 12 months
- Completely online
- Taught by veteran industry experts
- Provides a forum for sensory science professionals from around the world to network
- Related article: Why Study Applied Sensory and Consumer Science?