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Women in Flavor & Fragrance Commerce (WFFC) will honor Carol Karahadian, global director of sensory - R&D division of Starbucks Coffee Company, at the 31st WFFC Open Dinner on Sept. 25, 2013, at the Westmount Country Club in West Paterson, New Jersey.
Karahadian joined Starbucks in 2011, after spending 17 years at Firmenich. At Starbucks, she has successfully established the global standardization for testing processes and tasting descriptive protocols, from consumer research to product development, with a focus on emerging markets.
As the daughter of a California walnut grower, Karahadian was exposed to the production and processing of food from a very early age. Her passion for food has led her into applied food science, first as an academic, and later as a practitioner. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of California Davis, as well as her M.S. and PhD degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and later became an assistant professor at the University of Maryland and Purdue University in foods and nutrition. She published 25 peer-review academic papers.
Karahadian came to the flavor and fragrance industry when Firmenich offered her an opportunity as a sensory manager at its North American flavor division in 1995. She eventually rose to become vice president of global sensory and consumer research at the division. She spent several years working at the company’s headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, building a global sensory program and a descriptive expertise center in Mumbai, India.
When asked about the defining moment in her career, she replied, “When others believed in me and gave me the opportunity to change my world and impact those who I touch.”
Karahadian volunteers her time and food science expertise at the Seattle Chapter of Expanding Your Horizons, a non-profit organization where girls in the 6th to 8th grades can explore math, science and technology. She has also been a supporter of the local Rescue Missions where she has lived.