AS A senior sensory scientist with Abbott Nutrition, Mr Lau Jun Jie's job is all about ensuring the company's products taste good to a range of consumers.
His work involves training, and working with taste testers, as well as tasting and working on new products.
Much of the work is tailored to varying tastes in individual countries.
Mr Lau, 35, supports markets in Asia, including Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia, mainland China, Taiwan and India, and also fields requests from as far afield as Saudi Arabia. In any given month, he could be testing anywhere between 10 and 30 ingredients and products.
His team works on product development. This includes recommending the amount of ingredients to add. His team then makes sure the products taste good, and it tailors them to specific consumer preferences.
"There's a lot of back and forth between the development stage and the testing stage," says Mr Lau, who has a Bachelor of Applied Science in Food Science and Technology from RMIT University.
He feels satisfied when he talks to family and friends using a product. "For example, consumers with toddlers taking Abbott's milk products might say it helps their toddlers to grow... Or the elderly, who take (nutrition drink) Ensure and find it improves their quality of life."
One product Mr Lau has worked on during his nearly three years at Abbott is the Ensure Acti M2, meant to help memory and cognition. "It's something I can relate to, as my parents are ageing and I believe it's a product that will benefit them."
Testing usually has two stages. First, he works with a taste panel to taste products for a particular country, for a particular category.
Next, the team will travel to the country itself, working on the ground with consumers to get insights into what they think of the nutritional milk products.
"Afterwards, I put these two pieces - internal and external - together, to provide pointers to our team to help in developing a product that's specific to the country, " Mr Lau said.