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Sensory Research Systems
The term “sensory research” tends to be used by research and development scientists and food scientists in much the same way that the marketing world
uses the term “product testing.” Many of the methods are identical or very similar. In general usage, the term “sensory research” tends
to refer to small-scale product testing that is used by research and development scientists to help them in formulating new foods and beverages, and in reformulating
existing food and beverage products.
The primary purpose of sensory research is the support of research and development (R&D) efforts or quality-control measurements. Decision Analyst designs,
develops, and operates low-cost, fast turnaround, R&D sensory-testing systems, usually based on relatively small samples (30 to 100 respondents). These systems
- Building custom panels in selected geographic areas (and mailing or delivering test products to participants).
- Recruiting and scheduling respondents to come to one or more facilities to participate in sensory tests.
- Tabulating and analyzing the resulting sensory research data.
- Maintaining a historical database of exactly what was tested and the corresponding test results.
The exact methodology is designed to meet the needs of each client’s research and development program.
As a preliminary step in attempting to optimize a particular food or beverage formulation, it is valuable to develop an understanding of the relative importance
and role of the different ingredients in the formulation. Typically, a number of product formulations are created, each with a high level and a low level
(or absence) of a particular ingredient, with all other ingredients held constant. Each respondent usually rates three to five of these different products, depending
upon the type of product.
The products are rated on overall appeal as well as specific attributes (sweetness, texture, mouth feel, etc.). Who tastes which product is determined by a complex
experimental design plan. The resulting data are analyzed via ANOVA and MANOVA statistical techniques, as well as regression and discriminant analyses. Choice-modeling
and response-surface methods are also used.
Sensory Research Services
Decision Analyst is a recognized leader in consumer product testing and optimization. Its staff has evaluated more than 1,000 foods, beverages, and other products
during the past 3 decades. The firm has over 50 staff members with extensive experience in the conduct and analysis of product test and optimization studies.
The company is a leader in the development of analytical techniques to enhance product testing and optimization. If you would like more information on product
testing, please contact Jerry W. Thomas, President/CEO (firstname.lastname@example.org),
or call 1-800-ANALYSIS (262-5974) or 1-817-640-6166.
Additional Resources from Decision Analyst
Product Testing Services
New Product Research Brochures
Product Testing Case Histories
Product Testing White Papers