Food products must taste good, look appealing, and have the right texture to succeed. That’s why so many brands turn to sensory testing. In short, it helps food manufacturers understand how consumers will perceive their products by evaluating the sensory properties of the food, such as appearance, taste, aroma, and texture.
But how does it help food brands looking to develop industry-leading products?
Sensory testing plays a pivotal role in developing competitive products in numerous ways. Below are some of the most important benefits offered to companies searching to create gold-standard products:
Through sensory testing, food brands and manufacturers can understand how consumers perceive their products and identify the flavours, aromas, textures, and other sensory attributes most appealing to their target market.
You can then use that information to determine your target market’s ideal combination of flavours, aromas, and textures.
For example, suppose you’re a manufacturer developing a new ice cream flavour. In that case, sensory testing can help you identify the optimal balance of sweetness, creaminess, and other sensory attributes that will make the product most appealing to your target consumer – increasing your chances of success from launch.
Another way sensory testing helps develop competitive products is by identifying gaps in the market. By evaluating the sensory properties of competing products in the same market segment, you can identify opportunities to differentiate your products through unique flavours or textures.
You might also find specific gaps in the market where current consumer needs go unmet. From the desire for a specific product flavour to a niche texture preference, sensory testing can help manufacturers identify these gaps and develop products that meet these unmet needs – gaining a competitive advantage.
When developing and launching new products, testing them against both the competition and your existing products is crucial – especially when considering a reformulation.
Although not a food product, the example of New Coke paints an excellent picture of what can go wrong with insufficient sensory testing. While Coca-Cola had invested in taste tests of their original Coke versus Pepsi, they neglected to perform sufficient sensory taste testing with consumers with their new, “sweeter” reformulated New Coke in the 1980s.
The launch was a disaster costing hundreds of millions in lost sales. However, they managed to get away with it since the whole episode inadvertently boosted sales of original-recipe Coca-Cola.
You likely won’t have that luxury. So it’s wise to submit your original and reformulated products to in-depth sensory profiling using trained panellists and taste testing sessions with members of the public to avoid potentially catastrophic consequences for your brand.
There are several elements to a successful food product launch or reformulation. However, without sensory testing, you are potentially entering the market “blind” with sufficient knowledge of how your product performs against both your marketing promises and the expectations of your target consumers.
At Wirral Sensory Services, we boast over 25 years of experience in helping leading food brands ensure their products are not just competitive in the market but industry leaders.
We boast expert sensory profiling teams, a vast pool of taste testers on standby, and an in-house team that can expertly design sensory studies of your products and deliver meaningful insights in straightforward language.
So if you’re looking to ensure your next food product launch hits the mark from the get-go, make sure to contact us today to discuss your specific requirements in more detail.