Flavor chemistry: The science of deliciousness
Dec20

Flavor chemistry: The science of deliciousness

Profile: Bethany Hausch, chemist, food scientist and technologist at Kerry Ingredients and Flavours We are quickly approaching the holidays and it only seems appropriate that I blog about food, since it’s such a crucial component of the season. More specifically, this blog post is about food science, and about how a good friend of mine, Bethany Hausch, took her chemistry skills into the world of flavor science. We met when Bethany was studying at the University of Illinois, and I’m so happy that I get to blog about her journey! Bethany is a technologist at Kerry Ingredients and Flavours in Beloit, WI. She works in the Analytical Lab at Kerry where she uses various instrumentation to analyze flavors and study the composition of foods. “Each day is different and depends on the tests requested from R&D scientists,” Bethany says. “Most days I work on three or four projects.    This could include identifying the source of an off-flavor in rejected product or comparing the flavor of samples in a storage study.  I might also spend part of my day determining the sugar profile of anything from coffee syrups to baby cereal.” In undergrad, Bethany majored in chemistry (B.S., 2008), but when she looked at the traditional career options available to chemists, none seemed to be the right fit. Food science seemed to have more direct applications to everyday life, so she went on to earn her Master’s degree in Food Science & Human Nutrition from the University of Illinois in 2010 and immediately landed her job at Kerry. What Bethany loves most about her job is the element of discovery and the fact that she's learning new things all the time. Since the Analytical Lab provides support to all divisions of the company, Bethany learns about a lot of different types of foods and about the compounds that give them their flavor. “I enjoy this field because I see the beauty of science while working on projects that are practical and have direct consumer applications,” she says. However, the job also comes with a bit of routineness, which Bethany says she could do without. Also, making the switch from academic research to industry work was a bit of a transition. In her Master’s research, Bethany enjoyed taking a project from start to finish and grasping the big picture of the projects she worked on. However, in her industry job, her analytical work is one piece of a big puzzle that she doesn’t always get to learn all the details about. Bethany often receives a blank stare when she tells people she went to school for food science, because most people don’t realize it’s a legit...

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