Originally posted Friday, March 13, 2009
• Effective testing — a comparison of facts (objective data) between two or more products — generally requires a trained panel.
• Affective, or consumer testing — gathers opinions (subjective data) from large numbers of untrained, prospective consumers. Smaller focus groups may also be used in consumer testing.
• Perception testing — using biochemical and psychological theories to explain sensory preferences.
Applying modern statistical analysis to the data gathered by different forms of testing offers a wealth of information about consumer behavior and the potential acceptance or rejection of products.
Sensory research, evaluation and analysis are in high demand, for their use of scientific discipline employing a number of tools that are usually considered subjective and difficult to interpret–especially the human senses–taste, texture, mouth feel, aroma, appearance– all are scored on a numerical scale to generate data for statistical analysis.
The objective is to evaluate consumer products in an unbiased manner in order to gain insight about how your product will be accepted by your target audience, the ones who’ll make it or break it.
Recently Food Processing.com asked Marino Trevola about his use of sensory research as Project Leader for Food R&D at Alberto-Culver Co., the makers of Mrs. Dash salt-free seasoning. “It’s the best way to find out how well a new idea will be received,” he said. According to Trevola, data gathered from sensory research is essential not only to the development of new products, but also to the successful extension of a well-established line.
No food business owner can afford to be wrong when creating a new product. It pays to gather unbiased data in the form of sensory research.