During my 30-year career in the sensory and consumer research industry, I’ve found that some of the most misused and misunderstood tests by food manufacturers are difference tests, which determine if the attributes of two food products are different. One common difference test is a triangle test, which presents panelists in a study with three different samples to taste. Two of the samples are from the same product and one is from a different product. The test determines if the panelists are able to pick out the sample of the different product from the three presented. 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
We 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 ensures usable, actionable data will prevail. Continue Reading
A staggering number of new products are developed every year that never make it past first production and if they do, it’s only to die shortly thereafter. Highly successful food and beverage manufacturers are among the unlucky in this area and often have products that roll out only to lose momentum before the product ever really gets rolling. So this would suggest that it is not about capability to produce popular products…but seemingly rather the ability to figure out a concept that will be well received and a version that actually tastes good. Continue Reading
According to the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) and the National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods (NACMCF), shelf-life is “the amount of time that a food product is considered acceptable for consumption when stored at the appropriate storage conditions.” When determining if a food product is acceptable for consumption, several factors – including organoleptic properties (taste, texture, odor, appearance), microbial spoilage and chemical changes to the product during storage – must be considered. Continue Reading