As a consumer, you may not wonder about all the steps it took for certain food items to reach your home, and ultimately your mouth.
You likely don’t consider the researchers, marketers, stylists, assistants, butchers and taste testers required to make those foods you purchase appealing to you and the general public in the first place.
Well, people are doing those specialized jobs, and here are seven of the kookiest in the industry.
1. Chocolate Taster Salary: $24,000 - $70,000
I will never understand how this is a real job, but a few lucky souls call it a career. It’s what dreams are made of, what children aspire to be when they grow up. Simply put, this is the gig everyone wants at some point in their lives.
But like all jobs, it’s not as easy as it sounds. Most are food scientists with backgrounds in biology or chemistry. On the prowl for flavor, it comes down to evaluating a complex combination of taste, touch, temperature, and smell. Plus, it’d practically be a second job to keep off the weight.
2. Creamery Assistant Salary: $25,000 - $30,000
Cheesemakers can’t do it all themselves, so they hire someone to pay extremely close attention to detail. The job itself includes a great deal of scrubbing, cheese ripening (a.k.a. “performing affinage,” which can take from weeks to years), cleaning and packaging. Also, the workplace is often a damp cheese cave.
3. Dog Food Tester Salary: $30,000 - $117,000
Given that dog food is regulated by the FDA and typically made with high-quality meat and veggies, this gig isn’t as bonkers as it sounds, especially with an ever growing “gourmet” and “human-grade” dog food market.
Sure, dogs are those same creatures who would spend their day licking butt if there weren’t constant distractions for them, but pet owners are serious people who want serious food for their pups.
4. Food Stylist Salary: $30,000 - $44,000
This position typically requires an art degree, as it’s this job’s duty to arrange food to look wildly appealing, whether it’s in menus, cookbooks, magazines, ads or Instagram.
It’s the stylist’s job to make food look crazy delicious, from those French fries exploding with a charming golden color mid-air to those pizzas that look like they’re as big as the horizon.
While some are salary, most work freelance, with rates going as high as $850 per day.
5. Fortune Cookie Writer Salary: $38,000 - $75,000
Someone has to think of those words of wisdom that require a proper balance of skills to be able to sum up in a single sentence what someone’s future may hold. Don’t expect to find writers toiling away fortunes in an office as this is a freelancer’s game with companies reaching out to refresh their message database every few years.
6. Livestock Inseminator Salary: $30,000 - $60,000
Seeing as how factory farming tactics have not at all jokingly transformed turkeys into actual butterballs, and cows into beefcakes there’s a need to help with breeding. For cows, most inseminators have a background working on a dairy farm along with additional course work in artificial insemination.
For your typical turkey inseminator, the job requires collecting and storing sperm before injecting it into female turkeys by hand. This gig is typically the responsibility of the general technician for the farm, which includes euthanizing animals and cleaning their pens, so…it can get worse.
7. Fish Scaler Salary: $20,000 - $30,000
This job is pretty much what you think it is, and demands a firm hand and a pretty solid waste management system. While not quite as grotesque seeming as a butcher, this individual still has to break down them big fishies before they wind up at the grocery store or farmer’s market. This one can get pretty burly as it often requires cutting up fish in addition to scaling them.