The University of Florida Taste Panel is something that is unnoticed and unknown by most UF students. As students walk past building 120 on Newell drive, all but a select number of panelists walk by without wandering in. But what lies in building 120 is a world consisting of yummy food samples and impressive research.
The UF Taste Panel is a part of the Food Science and Human Nutrition Department, and it conducts weekly panels on a wide array of food groups. Food companies, professors, and graduate students use the lab to conduct research on samples, to collect data and to ensure that the resulting product is appealing to the consumer. Anyone can participate in the panels, and participants receive coupon vouchers they can use anywhere on campus!
I got the chance to talk to Taste Panel employee Rachel Soloman who told me what it is like working in the lab.
“Working for the Taste Panel is a really unique opportunity and work environment. All of your work consists of setting up and implementing labs, which is not something that most students can say that they do every day,” she explained.
Employees at the taste panel set up each panel in the mornings, and they run the panels until they reach the required amount of participants by the company or person running the panel. Then, at the end of the day, employees get to taste as well, and they set up for the panel the next day. Panels have included items, ranging from fruit, to coffee, to hamburgers, and cookies. Next time you’re walking by Building 120, don’t forget to stop by for some yummy treats!