Sensory testing plays a large role in ensuring product quality in the food industry. From determining consumer preferences to testing for product quality, sensory services can offer valuable insights at every stage of the product development and manufacturing process. To share insight into the world of sensory under the umbrella of food science, I sat down with Allison Chandler, the Product Performance Operations Manager at Mérieux NutriSciences’ laboratory in Gainesville, Florida.

Q: Can you describe your role at Mérieux NutriSciences?
A: As Product Performance Operations Manager for Mérieux NutriSciences, I manage a team of food scientists focused on food quality. We perform physical tests, such as texture analysis, color measurement and viscosity, as well as a variety of sensory tests, such as triangle tests and hedonic testing. We also manage large supplier monitoring programs in which we compare food samples to specified parameters in order to ensure restaurants and retailers are purchasing the highest quality products.   Continue Reading

Imagine you purchase a new soup brand from the grocery store and end up really enjoying it. You tell your friends about this new favorite soup and then go back the next week to buy it again. However, after you try it the second time, you realize that the flavor and the ratio of veggies to broth aren’t the same as the first time. This may sound like a food manufacturer’s worst nightmare, but don’t stress, you can avoid this scenario by implementing physical testing into your food safety and quality monitoring. Continue Reading

When consumers make a trip to the grocery store, increasingly they are choosing private label products over similar brand name products. Over a two year period from 2013 to 2015, sales of store-brand products in supermarkets rose by 2% to total $62.5 billion in sales, according to P.L.M.A.’s 2016 Private Label Yearbook. Offering strong private label products to consumers equals increased sales and customer loyalty for retailers.

Following this trend, retailer interest in improving and monitoring private label quality has also grown exponentially. Retailers are focusing on ways to increase private label quality, starting with how they choose suppliers and following it up with a robust quality monitoring program. These monitoring programs serve to prevent customer complaints and create customer loyalty to the brand owned by that retailer.   Continue Reading

In today’s social media-driven world, you can’t leave the quality of your products to chance. One missed step and you could face an onslaught of unhappy customers who are eager to share their experience with the internet. So how can you guarantee that quality food products will reach your customers? Go to the customers for opinions first by using sensory testing to ensure quality across your supply chain.   Continue Reading

On November 2nd, Biofortis celebrated the opening of our new Biofortis Clinical Trials and Sensory & Consumer Insights Center by hosting an Open House event. We welcomed clients, vendors and friends to tour the new 12,500 square foot facility and learn more about this unique research site. In case you missed it, here are some highlights of the event and five things that our guests learned about Biofortis. Continue Reading

In 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.” Continue Reading

Starting 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. Continue Reading

“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 ensure a fulfilled project objective. Continue Reading