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Sensory taste tests are a vital part of developing and evaluating food and drink products. They deliver a wide range of insights influencing product decisions, from flavour and taste profiles to texture and appearance.

But what are some actionable insights you might discern from such a test? Let’s look at five key takeaways that could inform your product development and marketing decisions.

1. Gauge Consumer Acceptance

One of the first takeaways from a sensory taste test is an indication of consumer acceptance – especially if you’ve carried out the project with lay taste testers (members of the general public) rather than trained experts.

Their subjective thoughts on your product’s taste, texture, and aroma can be invaluable in helping you understand how consumers might perceive your products in the future.

By catching any potentially negative perceptions early, you may be able to avoid costly redevelopment processes while the product is already sitting on shelves missing sales targets.

2. Analyse Competitors’ Offerings

An in-depth understanding of your competitors’ offerings is one of the most critical insights delivered via a sensory taste test. When tested side-by-side, you can gain vital insight into how your product compares to competitors’ products in terms of taste and other sensory factors.

You might suddenly discover that your meat pie doesn’t possess as much “beefiness” as your main competitor’s offering – or that your product has a much richer and more decadent mouthfeel than your competitor’s.

These insights can help you refine your recipes to better serve your customers’ tastes and differentiate your products from competitors.

3. Identify Product Strengths and Weaknesses

Another important takeaway from a sensory taste testing project is the identification and analysis of product strengths and weaknesses. You might find that your target demographic loves a particular element of your product – such as its rich, indulgent texture – but finds another element less appealing, such as its strong aftertaste.

Without putting your product through these tests, these weaknesses might not have been picked up until the later stages of product development or in customer focus groups. At that point, it would be far more expensive to fix any issues.

4. Leverage Your Competitors’ Products to Create a Gold-Standard Product

Sensory taste tests have the ability to remove the secrecy behind your competitors’ product’s success. By objectively evaluating your product alongside a selection of the current market leaders, you can identify those factors that differentiate them from the competition, as well as those features that you could incorporate into your own products to create a market-leading offering.

This process, known as product benchmarking or product optimisation, allows you to take the best bits from your competitors’ products and combine them with your own expertise to create a product or service that is genuinely unique – rather than simply “me too” – in the eyes of the consumer.

5. Better Focus Your Marketing Strategy

Lastly, another excellent takeaway from a sensory taste test is identifying a product’s key selling points. There’s no point trying to market your fizzy drink as the “fizziest” on the market if there are others on the market that are considerably stronger on the fizz front.

By uncovering what it is that makes your product unique, you can focus your marketing efforts more effectively and ensure that your brand stands out from the crowd for the right reasons.

Sensory Taste Tests Offer Various Benefits

As you can see, there are many reasons why your company should consider undertaking a sensory taste test as part of the product development process. The various ways in which you can use the data and insights delivered by WSS can vastly improve your company’s ability to create and sell products that truly resonate with consumers – and ultimately improve your bottom line.

To speak to a member of our team about conducting a sensory taste test for your brand, please get in touch today on +44(0)151 346 2999 or email us at info@wssintl.com.