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Frequently Asked Questions
What is Tasteocracy?
The Tasteocracy community is part of a bigger picture. The community helps provide information for consumer product testing. Companies across the country depend on testers — as well as the expertise we provide in designing and facilitating scientific tests — to ensure their products appeal to their customers.
We invite regular people just like you to participate in paid product tests and provide their opinions about the product they are testing. Many of the products we test are food products. The majority of our tests take place at a specific location on a specific date. Qualified participants pick testing times that best suit their schedules.
Who is eligible to join the Tasteocracy community?
Anyone age 18 to 65 and living or working within driving distance of our testing locations. Children are welcome but must be signed up by a parent/guardian who is already part of the program. We do have tests for adults over 65, but they are infrequent.
I have food allergies. Am I eligible to join Tasteocracy?
Yes. Those with specific food allergies will have fewer testing opportunities than those who do not have any food allergies, but there are occasionally tests for products that are not food related.
Additionally, we sometimes have tests for products that are being designed for those with specific allergies and sensitivities. Because many of the food products we test are still in design, we can guarantee that they are safe to consume, but we cannot guarantee that they do not contain specific allergens. For example, even though a product might not have peanuts listed as an ingredient, we cannot guarantee that there is not peanut in the test product.
When you are signing up and completing your profile, it is important to properly identify allergies or sensitivities so that we may invite you to screen only for tests that are safe for you.
What browser works best on your website?
If it has been a while since you have updated your browser, take a few minutes to download the newest version of your favorite browser:
- Internet Explorer
If you use Apple products, this website is best supported using IOS 7 or higher (for iPads, iPhones) and OSX (for Mac).
- iPad, iPhone update link
- Mac update link
How do I find out about testing opportunities?
The best way to find out about testing opportunities is to log in to your Tasteocracy account and click on AVAILABLE SURVEYS on your account page. Remember to provide your mobile number and opt in to receive texts, so we can notify you about opportunities that are the best fit for you! We will also announce tests on social media; however, not all tests announced this way will be available to you based on the specific demographic requirements of each test.
We may contact you directly via email, text message (if you have opted in to receive text messages), computerized phone call or one of our Customer Care representatives, but this will not occur for every test for which you are eligible.
If you have not tested in the past 60 days and call our customer care line during normal business hours from the preferred number on your account, you may choose to listen to a select list of currently open studies.
How do I schedule for a test?
After answering all of the questions on a screening survey, if your responses qualify you for participation, you will be directed to the SESSION SELECTOR. If one of the sessions presented works with your schedule, click “Schedule” right next to that session time. You will get an email with the logistical details automatically sent to the email address we have on file. Your dashboard will also display your scheduled session information.
How do I get paid?
- Single-day tests — You will be handed a check upon the completion of your test session.
- Multi-day tests — You will be handed a check upon the completion of your last test session.
- Home-use tests — You will be mailed a check no later than two weeks after your completion of all test requirements.
What is an average payment?
We value your participation and compensate you for your time and opinions. The amount of compensation is related to the length of the test. Tests that have a longer time commitment have a higher compensation amount. All tests average at $40 per hour of participation.
How and when will you contact me?
We contact testers directly via email, phone and text (if opted in). We may contact you to invite you to screen for a test or complete a screening process that is underway, confirm that you are scheduled for a test, remind you of a scheduled test or verify aspects of your tester profile. Tasteocracy also sends a monthly email newsletter conveying important information and announcing upcoming promotions.
How can I contact you?
Tasteocracy provides customer care support to all testers from 7am-7pm (Pacific Standard Time) / 9am-9pm (Central Standard Time) Monday through Friday.
Additionally, you may email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or chat with us using the pop-up in the bottom right-hand corner of this website.
Why do I have to give you so much personal information?
Tasteocracy is committed to maintaining the confidentiality of our testers. You can be assured that we will never sell or share your personal information and that your responses to survey questions remain confidential and are reported once combined with other testers’ responses.
- We require personal information such as name address, phone number and email address in order to provide you testing opportunities and to create valid check payments.
- We require information about allergies and sensitivities so that we can ensure your safety at our tests.
- We require demographic information such as your birth date, gender, income and ethnicity so that we may invite you to tests for which you are likely to qualify. For example, if you are a woman, we do not want to frustrate you by inviting you to screen for a test that will only qualify men.
- We request additional demographic information such as type of housing or education level so that we can better focus you on the tests for which you are most likely to qualify.
How many tests can I participate in? How often can I participate?
Tasteocracy members are generally eligible to test every 60 days. This could mean participating in up to six tests per year. Our Express Testing Panel is eligible to test every 14 days. Testers may only have one Tasteocracy account. Testers found to be using more than one account will be banned from testing.
Can my children test?
Yes! We conduct tests with testers as young as 5 years old. You may register your children by logging into your account and going to PROFILE and clicking on MY HOUSEHOLD. When there is a testing opportunity for your child, it will show up on your available studies page.
When your child is scheduled for something, it will show up on your scheduled tests page. We also conduct paired tests where a parent and child test together.
Where do your tests take place?
Tasteocracy has two main testing facilities in Livermore, CA, and Plymouth, MN. We also hold tests at area hotels, churches and recreation centers in the surrounding areas.
I don’t want to travel. Do you have any online-only tests?
Tasteocracy will occasionally offer tests that require only online response. Most tests, however, require your physical presence to participate in the test or to pick up the product that you will be using during a home use test.
What kinds of tests are there?
Tasteocracy conducts many different types of testing activities. The most common are:
- Taste tests — You will be asked to sample various products and answer questions on a questionnaire about the product. There will be many other testers participating in the test at the same time, but there is no interaction between testers. These tests can last as little as 15 minutes to as long as 90 minutes, depending on the number of products you will sample.
- Home-use tests — You will pick up a product or several products, prepare and sample the product in your home. You will answer questions on an online questionnaire about the product and your preparation.
- Discussion groups — These take on many forms, but what distinguishes them from taste tests is that you will interact with other testers. The interaction could be as part of a small (6 to 10 people) moderated discussion. Or it could be as part of a moderated product-interaction exercise. You may or may not sample products during the course of a discussion group. Discussion groups may last between 45 and 120 minutes.
How do I withdraw from a test if my schedule changes?
We know things come up! If it is more than 24 hours prior to your scheduled test, you can log into your account and cancel your participation by going to SCHEDULED TESTS and clicking on “cancel” next to your scheduled test. If it is less than 24 hours prior to your scheduled test, please call or chat customer care to be canceled.
If you let us know that you will not be able to attend, you will not be penalized. Try to never “no show” for a scheduled test.
Why did you cancel me?
We never want to do this, but it does occasionally happen. There are a few reasons why we might have to cancel your participation in a test. The most common reason for cancellation is production problems with the product that is being tested. Sometimes this will mean that the entire test is canceled or postponed, and sometimes it means only a portion of the test is canceled.
We will always seek to confirm your understanding of the cancellation either through email or a phone call. Once we receive this confirmation, we will officially cancel your participation, and you will be free to screen for other tests that may be available to you.
How do I deactivate my Tasteocracy account?
Call or with chat customer care, and we will honor your request immediately.
You may also inactivate yourself by logging into your account and navigating to CONTACT PREFERENCES under your PROFILE. When your status is inactive, you will not be contacted by Tasteocracy and will not be eligible to screen or participate in any tests. If you have voluntarily inactivated your account, you may always log in and re-activate your account.
How do I find out what I am scheduled for?
We will send an email confirmation to the email address we have on file containing the test logistical information (where and when) immediately after you schedule. You may also log into your account. If you are scheduled for a test, the logistical information will display in the top right of your dashboard. You may view what your children are scheduled for by clicking on SCHEDULED TESTS.
Do you take referrals?
We love referrals! Please let your friends and family know about this easy way to earn some extra money and provide feedback to the manufacturers that supply the products that you use every day. If your referral creates a profile and qualifies for a test you may be able to receive a referral bonus; keep your eye out for these opportunities.
What are your fundraising opportunities?
Our fundraising program is easy and convenient for fundraisers and organizations alike. Please see our Fundraising page for more information.
I think I am fundraising for an organization. How can I tell?
Log into your account and click on MY FUNDRAISING under your PROFILE. There you may view and edit all of your fundraising information. Tasteocracy members may raise funds only for one organization at a time. Children can be fundraisers too!
I showed up at the test, but I wasn’t allowed to test. Why?
Thank you for attending your scheduled test! There are usually two reasons why someone would not be allowed to test:
The first reason is that they did not comply with the test day requirements. Tasteocracy is a research facility and must ensure the quality of the data we collect. To ensure that you are allowed to participate, please follow the Test Day Requirements.
The second reason is that we met our quota of testers for that session. Much like an airline, we need to over recruit our tests just slightly so that we can ensure enough respondents even if we get last minute cancels. We value your commitment to your testing time.
If you arrive to your test on time and answer the re-screening questions similarly to how you answered online during your qualification survey but we have met our quota and cannot bring you into the testing room, you will be paid half (not to be less than $25) of the amount that you would have received if you completed the test. You will get some free time and some money, and you are immediately eligible to try again for another test.
I can’t cash my check! What’s the deal?
We value your participation and compensate you for your time and opinions. Payment is almost always in the form of a check. Here are some guidelines about check cashing:
Lost, stolen, missing checks
Treat your check like cash! Once a check has been given to you, it becomes your responsibility. We cannot replace lost or missing checks. If a check is returned to us, we will notify you immediately and verify your mailing address and forward you the check. To be valid, this check must still be within the original 180 days from issuance.
Return the check (or pieces of check) with a written request for a replacement to Tasteocracy within the original 180 days from issuance, and we will issue a new check. Please include contact information in your letter so that we may verify your address. You may also bring the damaged check to one of our testing locations. A replacement check will be issued within 5 days and mailed to you.
Checks past the void date
Your bank may honor the check even if it is over 180 days from issuance. However, Tasteocracy will not reissue checks that are beyond the 180-day time frame and is not responsible for any bank fees you incur due to expiration of the check.
Bank says it can’t process
Some banks are moving to an entirely automated processing system and will not hand key in any checks for any reason. On a very rare occasion, the automated processing system may reject a check. If your bank returns a Tasteocracy check and says it cannot process, as long as it is still within 180 days from issuance, we will replace the check. Send us a written request and return the original check. Tasteocracy is not responsible for any bank fees you incur. The checks are completely valid. We recommend talking with your bank to get any charges reversed. The issue is with their processing system and not Tasteocracy’s check.
Testers who do not have a bank account
It is critical that your information is up to date in our system. Our checks include your mailing address when printed. Check-cashing services, including Walmart, will sometimes refuse to cash a check if the address on the check does not match the address on your ID. We are always happy to confirm the validity of our checks. Simply have the check-cashing service give our customer care line a call. If they have your name, the check number and the amount of the check, we can verify that the check is valid.
Testing was interesting and fun...are you hiring?
Tasteocracy occasionally has part-time opportunities for Field Associates (whom you may have interacted with during the test) and Customer Service/Recruiting Associates (whom you may have interacted with on the phone or live chat).
Each of these positions require attention to detail, critical thinking skills to quickly solve problems, impeccable customer service skills to interact with the public and with clients, and comfort with technology. Field Associates must have flexibility in scheduling and the ability to travel to multiple test sites. Customer Service/Recruiting Associates must be able to provide their own quiet home office with reliable high-speed Internet.