"Product caretakers," that is what the President and Founder of 21st Sensory, Inc., Kathleen Pillsbury Rutledge, said her business is all about.
"We capture a products essence and what it is in a sensory fingerprint," Rutledge said. The Bartlesville based consumer research company utilizes people with discerning taste buds and a nose that knows.
28 trained panelists are used to evaluate foods, beverages, consumer good and personal care products. They take the product and break it down into measurable characteristics. The products are evaluated and the data is then provided to the company.
The panelists undergo an extensive interview and screening process and must perform 150 hours of training before they can work.
Carol Smith has worked on the panel for 5 years and says the job doesn't feel like work. "It's exciting, its fun to learn and make your brain work all of the time."
Carol has worked on various projects and says the job has had its perks, "We've done chocolate chip cookies and we've done ice cream."
FOX23 visited 21st Sensory
while panelists were evaluating different breakfast sausages.
Rutledge said the small is business helps larger businesses identify what makes their product unique. "We help people find their objective. They can tell you a concept and we break it down to measurable pieces," said Rutledge.