Meet Josh Smith. He’s a food technologist at So Delicious, an American company that has been churning out dairy-free foods for the past 30 years. Smith specializes in the frozen dessert category, which means he gets paid to develop and taste-test vegan ice cream on the daily. Equally intrigued and envious of Smith’s career, we pulled him away from his bowl of Snickerdoodle Cashewmilk to give us a run down on his day-to-day responsibilities.
6:30am: Take in the day
“I like to take a moment to read and reflect on life and religion and think about my current projects.”
7:15am: Bike to work
“Off to ‘The Greenhouse,’ the So Delicious innovation center in beautiful Louisville, CO. I commute via my electric bike and think about the flavors I’d like to create someday as I pedal past the bucolic scenery. Lately, I’ve been musing over a flavor that’s low-sugar, high-protein, and high-fiber—maybe even with adaptogenic mushrooms!”
8am: The taster has arrived
“I arrive at the office and it’s go time. Every day is different, but recently I’ve been working on our No Sugar Added and Frozen Mousse lines looking at ways to innovate our lower sugar and lower calories options.”
8:30am: Meeting #1
“My first meeting is with the nutrition team. I meet with this group on a regular basis—they make sure I continue to create mindful treats using high-quality ingredients.”
10:30am: Meeting #2
“Next I meet with the R&I (Research and Innovation) team to chat about some of the new flavors we have in progress. Did you know that vanilla is actually the most difficult flavor to get right? People are always surprised when they hear that because of how simple the flavor seems. Believe it or not, chocolate is the easiest!”
12pm: Savory food time
“Also known as lunchtime. My favorite local spot is the Taj Mahal 3 for exceptional plant-based Indian food. For a post-lunch treat, I’ll have a spoonful of the So Delicious Peanut Butter & Raspberry Oatmilk Frozen Dessert.”
1pm: Hit the books
“It takes a lot of research to come up with the most unique, trendy, and delicious flavors, but to me, this is one of the most engaging parts of the job. To come up with what’s next, my team explores everything from scientific journals to what’s trending on Pinterest. Recently I’ve been noticing adaptogens and MCT oil as interesting trends in everything from teas to treats. Once we commit to a new flavor, it can take anywhere from six months to a couple of years to perfect.”
3pm: Time to taste-test
“Break out the mini spoons, it’s time to taste some ice cream! On any given day, I taste up to 12 different samples of frozen desserts. When tasting, I’m looking for a lot of different things such as how the product freezes, the consistency (whipped or with holes), the hardness, and the flavor and texture—to make sure both are So Delicious. Our marketing and creative teams often join for tastings. My favorite flavor I’ve worked on is the Peanut Butter & Raspberry Oatmilk Frozen Dessert—which is why I’ll often enjoy it even when I’m not on the clock.”
4:30pm: A bit of drudgery
“In the late afternoon I’m either meeting with team members on our ongoing projects or responding to emails. Even ice cream tasters have inboxes to take care of.”
5pm: Head home
“Pack up my things and get ready to ride home. Even though it’s just vegan ice cream, when we get something right and we hear it from consumers, I leave the office with triumph. It’s the closest I’ve felt to being a rockstar.”
Tanya Flink is a Digital Editor at VegNews as well as a writer and fitness enthusiast living in Orange County, CA.
Photo credit: So Delicious
Want more of today’s best plant-based news, recipes, and lifestyle?
Get our award-winning magazine!