Sensory research is a vital part of consumer product research methodology. And yet, many brands still don’t realise that it’s not always technically part of consumer research since many sensory research methods depend on the work of trained panellists and research scientists.
Therefore, with that in mind, this article will run through precisely what sensory research covers and why you need it as part of your product research portfolio.
As you might have guessed, sensory research involves studying and evaluating a product based on its sensory features (think sight, taste, touch, smell etc.). Sensory research is different to consumer research because it is often carried out by researchers, panellists, and scientists with specialist skills and training.
This means that if you want to study the visual appeal of a new range of biscuits, for example, you might utilise a research team of psychologists and imagery experts to provide an objective review of the visual impact of your product packaging.
Unlike traditional consumer research, which uses questionnaires or interviews to judge how consumers think about products, sensory research is more objective in nature.
The most common sensory research methodology is sensory profiling. This research method utilises trained panellists with higher than average sensory acuity and a greater ability to identify different tastes and smells.
They consume the product and note the differences between a control sample and a variable sample. This research technique helps companies and brands to:
In short, yes. While many methodologies use trained R&D panellists and scientific researchers, subjective sensory data can still be collected from consumers to help make industry-leading products.
For instance, by combining sensory profiling with central location testing, brands can identify key drivers for consumer acceptance. These insights allow them to create a “Gold Standard” product based on consumers’ sensory preferences.
Other research methods such as taste testing, while subjective, are also considered to fall under the umbrella of sensory research as it asks for consumers’ opinions regarding the sensory characteristics of a product.
Perhaps the clue is in our name. Since 1997, we have been providing best-in-class sensory research services to leading UK brands and international counterparts looking to launch their products into British and European consumer markets.
Our sensory panellists are all extensively trained, and our team of researchers have carried out hundreds of sensory studies over our twenty-five-year history. We know what it takes to gain powerful insights into the sensory experience of food and drink products, and we’re proud of the work we produce.
So if you’re looking for a sensory research company that has a long track record, an in-depth understanding of sensory research, and a willingness to go the extra mile for your business, then look no further.