Food Safety & Quality Blog
Mérieux NutriSciences is dedicated to helping companies worldwide find practical solutions to today's food safety and quality challenges throughout the supply chain.

Gillian Dagan, Ph.D, CFS

Recent Posts

To Force or Not to Force?: The Key Question in Consumer Preference Testing

Posted by Gillian Dagan, Ph.D, CFS

March 2, 2017 at 10:00 AM

forced_choice_blog.jpgIn a world of fast moving decisions and limited resources, we are often asked to pick one thing over another based on our preference. It is quite common for me to ask my daughter to pick one type of candy to have for dessert. It is quite uncommon for her to say anything other than, “I want both!” Conversely, if I ask her to pick between green beans or zucchini for a side at dinner, she will answer, “I’ll take either.” 

As food industry professionals, we may use preference questions to identify a winning formulation or determine which of a number of products to take to market. In this instance we will use hedonic scales (likability scales) to address multiple aspects of the items like appearance, aroma, flavor, texture, and overall acceptability - and then ask our preference question between two samples. Asking panelists to pick one item over the other seems key for the objective of picking a winning product. But what if the formulations are liked the same by panelists? How would we ever know?

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Topics: Sensory Evaluation, Sensory Test, Product Testing, Product Development

Fundamentals for Setting Up a Successful Sensory Test

Posted by Gillian Dagan, Ph.D, CFS

February 2, 2017 at 1:00 PM

sensory_blog_photo.jpgStarting A Sensory Test 
Preparing to test your product with a target audience can be an exciting and scary feat. So, we’ve had our experts prepare the top three things you need to know so you’ll be prepared well in advance of reaching out for testing. 

Determine Your Objective: Know What You Want
Objectives. What questions are you trying to answer about your product? If you are having trouble answering this question, speaking with a sensory scientist can help. We can help you determine if you are searching for information on customer preference, or differences between products, or possibly purchase intent.

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Topics: Sensory Evaluation, Sensory Test, Product Testing, Product Development

Sensory Evaluations: It’s All in the Details (Part 2: Proper Test Definition and Design)

Posted by Gillian Dagan, Ph.D, CFS

July 6, 2015 at 1:00 PM

Sensory Evaluations"In school, we're rewarded for having the answer, not for asking a good question." - Richard Saul Wurman

We have all done it. At some point in our careers as food industry professionals we have set up a sensory test only to find that the information we gathered was not the answer to the question we intended to ask. So what went wrong?

Somewhere along the way, we strayed from our project objective and did not hold fast to the statistical principles that would provide robust, actionable data. Let’s review the steps in test design that will insure a fulfilled project objective.

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Topics: Sensory Evaluation

Sensory Evaluations: It’s All in the Details (Part 1)

Posted by Gillian Dagan, Ph.D, CFS

June 26, 2015 at 10:00 AM

Sensory EvaluationsWe have all heard that “4 out of 5 dentists prefer….”----you can fill in the blank.  But did they really only ask 5 dentists?  Were they young?  Old?  Do they live on the east coast?  West coast?  Who are these dentists anyway?

Choosing appropriate demographics in market research and sensory evaluations is paramount when designing a sensory study. If we are asking questions of the wrong people, we might as well have not come to work that day. Putting time and thought into proper panelist recruiting and screening insures usable, actionable data will prevail.

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Topics: Sensory Evaluation


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