Last updated on October 31st, 2019
Wouldn’t it be cool if you could participate in taste testing studies where you get paid to eat?
Well you can!
I’ve done it myself a bunch of times and it really is a fun way to make extra money on the side.
In fact it’s probably one of my favorite side gigs ever.
Related: Sign up for a FREE Swagbucks account and get paid in real cash and gift cards just for watching movie trailers, filling out short surveys, and more.
There are companies that conduct paid research studies and taste testing panels all over the country and I bet there’s one near you where you can earn extra money too.
Seriously, who wouldn’t love to get paid to eat??
Ready to learn more?
Ok, first let me take a minute to explain how these taste test studies work and then I’ll tell you more about my own experiences so you know what to expect when you sign up.
I’ll also give you the names of 15 legitimate market research companies where you can get paid to taste food.
Why Do Companies Hold Paid Research Studies?
Marketing research is incredibly important in the world of business.
Just think about it. If you were CEO of a corporation that was considering offering a new product, wouldn’t you want to get some feedback on the idea before you spent millions of dollars developing it?
Maybe you’d create a few prototypes and let people test them out to see if they like them?
To avoid making costly mistakes, companies hire marketing research firms to run focus groups, surveys, and taste testing panels. This allows them to get objective opinions about their products BEFORE they commit to spending a fortune developing or changing them.
That’s where you come in!
When you sign up for a paid market research program you can actually get paid to eat ice cream or drink coffee.
The First Time I Got Paid To Taste Food
A few years ago one of my girlfriends started participating in focus groups and she convinced me and Mike to sign up too.
When you first sign up you fill out a short questionnaire so they can get an idea of what kind of studies you might be eligible to participate in. Most of the ones we get are taste test studies, but some have been studies where we try out shampoo, mouth wash, or hand lotion.
As soon as a new study is ready, you get a call asking if you’d like to participate.
When they call, you may have to answer some additional questions to verify your eligibility. For example, if the test is about juice they might ask which brands you typically use and whether you like drinking various flavors.
Here’s a tip that will help you maximize your chances of being chosen: just say you like everything so you don’t accidentally disqualify yourself.
Since they don’t tell you what the study is about until after you’re chosen, you don’t want to get eliminated because you said you’re not a big fan of a particular flavor only to find out that is exactly what they’re testing.
Once we were signed up and in their system we started getting calls right away.
We probably got a couple of calls per week but the timing didn’t always work out (many of the studies are during the day when Mike was working, but they were perfect for stay at home moms like me).
When they called about a study on french fries that paid $60 for an hour and a half I jumped all over it.
Who doesn’t love french fries? And to get paid to eat them is a no-brainer!
The market research office is not far from my home so I was able to swing after dropping the kids off at school. I signed in and chatted with some other members of the test panel in the waiting room.
Another quick tip: Keep perfumes, colognes, after-shaves and hand creams to a minimum. If you come in with an overpowering scent they might disqualify you because it could effect their results.
After a few minutes of waiting around and playing on my smart phone they ushered ten of us into the testing room.
We sat down as the testers handed out the questionnaires and went over the instructions. Then they brought out little plates full of french fries to taste.
I couldn’t believe I was about to get paid to eat french fries!
There were 3 sets of fries to taste and after each we had to fill out a short survey describing what we liked and disliked about each.
We had to rate each batch of fries on texture, color, saltiness, crunchiness, potatoiness (yea I made that word up) and a few other categories I can’t remember.
The testers came around and made sure each survey was complete and then we were excused. On the way out I stopped by the front desk and the receptionist handed me an envelope with $60 cash inside.
That’s easy money!
Since then, we’ve participated in numerous paid research studies.
I once got paid $75 just for tasting iced coffee, and my daughter even got in on the act by earning $25 for tasting yogurt.
Mike also got to participate in a focus group where he watched a number of commercials for Verizon and then discussed what he liked and disliked about each one.
That study paid him $150 for just two hours work!
15 Places Where You Can Get Paid To Eat
There are marketing research studies located all over the country so I’m sure there are one or two near you. Here’s a list of some of the biggest and well-known companies where you can get paid to eat…
- AOC Marketing Research
- Area Wide Market Research
- Focus World International
- Food Perspectives
- Herron Associates
- INGATHER Research and Sensory
- International Flavors and Fragrances
- KMR Research Studio
- Martec Group
- Precision Research
- Curion Insights
- Rocky Mountain Research Focus Group
- Schlesinger Associates
- Shugoll Research
- Taste Makers Research Group
You can also do a Google search for to see where the closest paid research studies are to you.
You shouldn’t expect to get rich participating in market research studies, but it is certainly possible to earn a couple hundred bucks a month while having fun testing out new products and tasting food.
Have you ever participated in a paid taste testing panel or focus group? If so we’d love to hear about it. Drop us a comment below and tell us about your experience.
Mike Collins has been working in the financial industry since 2002 and is a self-proclaimed money nerd. He’s written for numerous personal finance websites and been featured on sites such as MarketWatch, Fortune, and Business Insider. Mike created Wealthy Turtle to give readers the tools and knowledge to manage their money like a rock star.