Wanted: Strategic mind, iron stomach and a very sweet tooth

Candy stocked in a candy store in Doylestown, Pa. in June.
Photo for The Washington Post by Hannah Yoon

Canada’s Candy Funhouse is hiring a “chief candy officer” to earn an annual salary of $100,000 Canadian dollars ($77,786) as its lead taste tester, tasked with trying more than 3,500 pieces of candy per month, or more than 100 a day on average.

The eye-catching role has attracted widespread attention – a moment for whimsy in the stressful yet humdrum realm of job listings.

In the role, you’d be approving candy for sale and making decisions about whether to award a “CCO Stamp of Approval.” This all happens in the company’s “Candy Intelligence Agency.”

You’d lead the company’s “candy strategy,” and run “candy board meetings.” Oh, and you’d be in charge of “all things fun.”

It’s open to anyone living in North America, aged 5 and up, the listing jests. No food allergies allowed.

Some proud parents have posted about their children applying – including one 8-year-old who has learned how to use LinkedIn and “the importance of a strong resume.”

You’d need “golden taste buds” and “an obvious sweet tooth,” according to the job posting.

The role comes with an “extensive dental plan.”

The listing may have garnered attention, but the role is not so out of the ordinary.

Hershey last month posted a “part time taste tester” job – for a “sensory panelist” able to “discern differences in samples for appearance, taste texture,” assessed via “taste acuity testing,” the listing said.

Anna Lingeris, brand publicity lead at the Hershey Company, told The Washington Post that dedicated taste testers undergo six months of training to identify specific tastes as part of Hershey’s research and development team. “Chocolate and the variety of our snacking products can be quite complex,” she said.

Separately, more than 500 employees have signed up to taste products, on top of the chocolates and snacks that fill conference rooms and coffee stations, to be enjoyed with no obligation to provide input, she said.

Mars Inc.- home of M&Ms, Twix and Snickers – has similar roles. One employee, Lisa Schroeder, who loves chocolate, began as a Mars taste tester – a role based on the applicant’s “ability to identify and describe flavor, basic tastes, and textures,” Schroeder told Insider in 2016.

Schroeder then became a “sensory technician,” helping gather panel data to maintain product quality and consistency. “This program makes sure that our most loved brands – such as M&M’s – taste the same as they did 75 years ago and that our new products taste like our consumers would expect,” she told the outlet.

One man sampled ice cream for decades as the “Official Taste Tester” for the ice cream company Dreyer’s.

John Harrison’s taste buds were insured for $1 million. He used a gold spoon to avoid any notes of wood or metal. He said he could immediately distinguish between 12% and 11.5% fat, by taste alone. He tested more than 60 flavors a day.

He spat out each spoonful to avoid becoming full.

His methods were refined: “Sort of like a wine taster, I start with the white wines of ice cream-Vanilla, French Vanilla, Vanilla Bean, Double Vanilla-and then work my way up to the heavy Bordeaux-Mint Chocolate Chip, Black Walnut,” he told World Magazine in 2009.