Most of my side hustles involve brute labor. But this one required only my opinion and appetite. Here’s how I earned $30 for eating chips, and giving my opinion for how they tasted.
I travel through Maryland quite a bit. And during my journeys, I drove past McCormick’s taste testing center. It intrigued me, so I walked in and demanded to know what this was all about! They promptly told me that they conduct paid taste tests for many of their foods before they put them on the market.
So if you live in the area, you can sign up too. Here is the website:
After you sign up, they’ll email you with opportunities to participate. But be forewarned: they look for very specific participants. Their questions ask how often you eat specific foods, and what types of foods you typically buy, and how often you do the food shopping for your household. I probably filled out 10 separate questionnaires before I finally got invited to participate this past Thursday, March 8th.
And here’s’ what the Taste Test was like:
I showed up, filled out some paper work confirming my identity, and sat in a waiting room. There were probably about 20 other people there. A lady in a lab coat entered the room, and asked us to follow her into a room that had small 11″ computers at each desk.
Here’s a picture I covertly snapped while leaving the room. They didn’t say you couldn’t take pictures. But I kept it discrete because I didn’t want the McCormick gestapo shaking me down.
So I took my seat. I had to log into my McCormick account. They asked you to “clean your palate” with some water and some salt-less crackers. Then, they brought out a tray for each participant:
Each tray had 4 cups. And in each cup, there were flavored chips. All the chips tasted like they had the same seasoning on them. But I guess it was a different amount of seasoning, because some tasted a little stronger than others.
But you had to eat one cup of chips at a time, and then answer some questions about how much you liked the chips in that specific cup. And you also had to answer some questions about what your current emotions were. And we had to do this for each cup.
And after about 20 minutes of taste testing, and giving opinions on each chip, I was handed a fat check for $30. Not bad for getting fed for 20 minutes.