LOCAL foodies are urgently needed to enroll in consumer food trials at Musselburgh’s Queen Margaret University.

The university is on the lookout for more than 300 new food tasters to take part in the taste panels run by its Scottish Centre for Food Development and Innovation.

They get the chance to try new Scottish food and drinks products, including cakes, bakery, dairy, ready meals and meat products, as well as new food products that have yet to launch.

The food panels currently attract many retired people from the community, as well as all those who are available to attend the university during weekdays.

However, due to a new large-scale project, there is a need for hundreds of new panelists who have an interest in food and enjoy sharing opinions on the subject.

Vanessa Durney, a food panel member from Musselburgh, said: “I’ve really enjoyed taking part in taste trials as we get the opportunity to taste premium brand products, basic ranges and new products that are in the development phase.

“The taste trials take part in the university’s sensory evaluation suite and we don’t see any labelling, branding, production information or packaging. This helps ensure there are fewer influencing factors and that we provide an unbiased response. People’s palate and opinions can differ wildly, so the conversations after the tastings are always very interesting.”

No previous experience is necessary to take part in the sessions but all participants should be over 18 and should not have any dietary restrictions or food allergies. They are rewarded with a choice of gift vouchers from either John Lewis or Amazon – between £10 and £15 – as a thank you for attending.

Panels run throughout the year and panelists are free to apply for as many or as few sessions as they wish.

For more information or to sign up, email Lucy MacLellan at consumerpanels@qmu.ac.uk