At Mérieux NutriSciences we provide quality monitoring programs to food service and retail customers that often benefit from the use of small group consensus descriptive analysis. This technique combines the level of detail found in traditional descriptive analysis with the agility of consensus profiling. When applied correctly this technique results in fast, focused product monitoring.

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In September, I attended the Society of Sensory Professionals (SSP) annual meeting in Cincinnati, Ohio. Although I have been involved with this organization for a few years, this was my first SSP annual meeting. While it has taken me some time to write this summary (cough, cough), it was a great experience and I wanted to share some of the most impactful takeaways for other sensory scientists who may be looking to attend in 2019. 

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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

Programs that help retailers and restaurateurs improve the quality of their products are worth their weight in gold, but who has the budget to support them? In this era of big data, it seems that insights and monitoring programs can equate to big money, but how can these insights help improve your operations as a food manufacturer? In particular, a program that tests products early in the supply chain gives your quality assurance (QA) team time to divert a substandard product from heading into the hands of consumers and creating a loss of brand equity. Continue Reading

Today, there seem to be more grocery store chains than ever before. However, despite the variety of options, if you explore any of them you will find a similar pattern – an expansive brand of products unique to that store, otherwise known as a Private Label Brand. In recent years, chain-style grocery stores have shifted their focus to increasing their brand recognition. In order to accomplish that, they need to deliver quality consumer packaged goods at a competitive price. The resulting “private label war” has been driving down the prices of store brand food products, thus creating more competition for well-known national brands. Continue Reading

Co-authored by Upasana Hariram, MS

You may have heard the phrase “nutrient stability” before, but do you know what it means and how it applies to your products? Nutrient stability refers to the length of time a nutrient remains in a food product at a desired level. If you are declaring nutrients on your product’s label, then you need to understand the stability of your product’s nutrients. This applies to a plethora of product categories including, but not limited to, pet food, beverages, adult food products, infant formula, toddler food and supplements. Continue Reading

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

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