In the process of testing and developing food products, it’s vital to gain the objective insights of trained panellists as opposed to gathering data from members of the public. Enter sensory profiling. A much more impartial method of research that helps you to detect sensory qualities not picked up by your average research participants.
But what exactly do we mean when talking about sensory profiling?
What Is Sensory Profiling?
As opposed to taste testing (which is often carried out by volunteers), sensory profiling uses trained panellists to assess products against crucial parameters. Rather than measuring whether potential customers may or may not “like” a product, trained panellists are selected from a pool of respondents who have higher than average sensory acuity, and greater ability to identify different tastes and smells.
By tasting the products, these experienced assessors can determine a specific sensory profile for your product, compare them to new formulations, or even those of competitors.
Why Is Sensory Profiling So Important?
Sensory research carried out in this manner is crucial for several reasons. Firstly, it allows you to uncover objective differences in attributes such as tastes and smells, rather than relying on customer opinion.
As mentioned, it takes the “liking” out of the equation. By used trained individuals, you can develop a sensory profile of a competitor and combine it with the taste tasting of those products by volunteers to develop a roadmap to a gold-standard product.
You can also use sensory profiling to more objectively monitor how changes in formulations affect a product’s profile. You can also use sensory research services to test for differences in separate batches of the same product to uncover any quality control issues.
What Does Sensory Profiling Involve?
As mentioned, it involves submitting your product to a sensory research company (such as Wirral Sensory Services) that have compiled a panel of dedicated assessors to perform a sensory analysis.
Those evaluating the products offer no opinion on the product itself. Instead, they merely test and report on the taste, smell, and other sensory factors to help develop a measurable profile. That sensory profile can then be compared to a competitor’s products or in-house alternatives to uncover objective differences between variants and competing products.
Why Choose Wirral Sensory Services For Your Sensory Research Requirements?
The clue is in the name. Here at Wirral Sensory Services, we’ve been carrying out sensory research for leading food and beverage brands in the UK for over 20 years. Our panel of dedicated assessors is one of the best in the country and allows us to provide a full and comprehensive overview of product changes.
Our sensory profiling work allows our clients to develop the best possible tasting products, and, therefore, maximise sales. Better yet, we can tailor your sensory research needs to your timescales, budget, and objectives. Whatever you are looking for, our sensory research services can provide the solution.
So whether you are a new company looking to develop a new brand, or you’re a well-established market presence looking to evaluate how recipe changes alter objective sensory metrics, our unbiased and robust sensory research services team can help your business succeed.
Sensory Profiling uses trained panellists to assess products against their key parameters.
This research takes the ‘liking’ out of the analysis, focusing instead on objective measurements of each key parameter of a product. These measurements then allow us to generate unique product profiles for each product assessed.
Our trained panellists are selected from a pool of respondents who have higher than average sensory acuity, and greater ability to identify different tastes and smells. They are extremely experienced in sensory profiling and have carried out assessments with many different food and beverage products.
Specific benefits of this type of research include:
Sensory differences between your products and those of your competitors can be shown clearly through the product profiles.
- The effect of a change in ingredient levels can be monitored through the changes in the profile of the product.
- Differences between batches of products can be assessed to monitor quality control
- When combined with central location testing, we can identify key drivers for consumer acceptance allowing us to create a ‘Gold Standard’ product (product optimisation).
WSS has ongoing relationships with several clients involving long term sensory profiling. Our panel of dedicated assessors allows us to provide a full and comprehensive overview of product changes and allows our clients to develop the best possible tasting products, therefore maximising sales.
The Case Study
A leading producer of spicy chicken products wanted to assess whether there were any discernible differences in dried spices sourced from two different origins.