Face-to-Face: Meet Bethia Margoshes May 2018

Ever wonder if anyone else is facing the same professional challenges as you? Or just looking to connect with some new people in your field? In IFT's Face-to-Face series, we will be introducing you to a different IFT member every month with a fun, insightful Q&A session.

This month meet...

Bethia MargoshesBethia Margoshes, principal consultant, Margoshes-Miller Consulting

  1. How did you get your start in the food industry?
    During my graduate studies in food chemistry, I was an intern at General Foods for two summers (one in physical chemistry, one in sensory science). After completing my PhD, I joined Procter & Gamble in the Food Product Development Division. While I started my career in food science, most of my R&D career at P&G was in other FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods) areas, including health, beauty, personal, and fabric care. I started with P&G as a technologist, then products research roles (consumer and product understanding), followed by a focus on sensory testing (both trained panel and consumer).

  2. What do you love about your job?
    When I started my first sensory assignment, I quickly realized sensory combines both the technical and consumer product understanding I enjoy. After more than 30 years at P&G, I decided retiring from P&G was separate from retiring from sensory. In addition to consulting, I continue to actively participate in ASTM E18: Sensory Evaluation and the Society for Sensory Professionals. I was a manager when I retired, so I now enjoy being able to go back to more hands-on science, while continuing to coach and train.

  3. What is the biggest challenge that you face in your job?
    Translating methods and data for people new to sensory evaluation. While some sensory testing can be considered as using people as detectors instead of machines, there are adjustments that need to be made to ensure you’re appropriately designing the study and interpreting the data. Sensory evaluation has a large toolbox to help answer many product development, qualification, and claims substantiation needs. As in many fields, it’s important to understand which tool to use, and how to use it correctly.

  4. What have you learned or been exposed to in the past 12 months that has helped you in your job?
    I learn a lot at every ASTM E18 Sensory Evaluation meeting I attend. Unlike a typical conference, these are primarily working meetings where task groups create international industry standards, guidelines, and publications for sensory evaluation. The discussions we have to reach consensus also help me continue to learn. I’ve been leading revisions for E1958, the Standard Guide for Sensory Claim Substantiation. Our task group works through issues with multiple points of view to define best practices.

  5. How do you see the FMCG industry evolving over the coming year?
    Internet shopping continues to change what and how FMCG are developed and marketed. From a sensory point of view, product selection is made with more limited personal sensory input (visual only), supplemented with online reviews and descriptions. Product comparison on the internet is also very different than considering what is in front of you on the store shelf.

  6. Fun Fact: What’s your favorite food?
    While it’s challenging to pick just one, I’m looking forward to fruit salad made with lots of in-season summer fruits.

  7. What are you currently working on?
    One project is volunteering with the Alaska Whale Foundation, applying sensory science to better understand humpback whale feeding calls. Humpback whales can be identified by individual markings on their flukes, but associating individual whales with their calls is challenging, as the vocalizations occur underwater (and recorded with hydrophones). With improved identification of individual whales by their calls, whale behavior can be better understood. We’re currently running a preliminary Repertory Grid study (focusing on sound) to develop objective descriptive measures of bubble net feeding calls. If new measures are identified, we’ll train a descriptive panel to evaluate whale calls, then combine the data with current instrumental data. This approach could potentially be used to better understand other wildlife behavior as well.

If you are an IFT member and wish to be profiled, please contact Kelly Hensel at khensel@ift.org or 312-604-0211.