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Why Use Sensory Analysis?

The short answer? Sensory analysis answers very important questions about your products that translate directly to revenue and customer satisfaction. Sensory analysis isn’t based on guesswork. It’s a scientific method designed to take the guesswork out of developing products for consumers. Thinking something to be true and knowing it to be true are two totally different things. Companies who are serious about understanding what their consumers like about their products utilize sensory analysis when making important decisions that affect millions of dollars of revenue and the overall success of the company as a whole.

Think about your senses for a moment. Your sight, smell, taste, touch, and hearing define a very personal experience not just for you, but for every consumer. Never is this more important than with food and beverage products. Investing in understanding the likes and dislikes of your consumers is invaluable and sets a powerful foundation for measurable decision-making.

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Some sensory analysis questions have the objective of describing characteristics of a product and/or measuring any differences that are found between products. Other sensory analysis questions have the objective of describing the liking or acceptability of a product. For example, what does this product taste like? What are the three most important texture attributes you perceive in this product? What are the sensory differences between product A and B? Do you like this product? How much do you like this product on a scale of 1 to 9? Is this product acceptable? What do you like most about this product? Is product A better than product B? Which of the three products A, B, or C do you prefer? Meditating on these questions provides you with insight into just how powerful sensory analysis can be.

Evaluating the quality or improving the quality of your food or beverage products is at the center of your success. If you currently have a product that has strong sensory attributes, you must make sure that it maintains its high quality standards so that your consumers will continue to buy it. Sensory testing will make sure the quality of your products remain the same.

Sensory analysis is also critical in providing product development input. If you’re launching a new fruit snack or a new flavored fish stick, you want to have credible data to bolster its release into the marketplace with confidence. Useful and relevant data can also drive marketing decisions, supplier decisions, and media decisions.

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Many companies use sensory analysis for food and beverage products to determine  market value. For example, maybe you want to understand how long a cracker can remain on a grocery shelf before it becomes stale. Perhaps one of the primary ingredients of your product has become very difficult or expensive to source. Sensory analysis could provide you with the ability to substitute ingredients that would reduce cost but have little or no impact on the overall quality of the product. When changing an ingredient you’ll want to make sure you know if the customer can perceive the change, and if so, how much does it change the product? Maybe you want to compare your product with a competitor’s product. Do you want to create better storage conditions for your products? Should the product be refrigerated or stored at room temperature? Will the product change texture or appearance if it is stored a certain way?

With sensory analysis you can gain insight into your consumers’ thinking in a way that cannot be acquired by any other means. Informed decision-making is the course of wisdom when developing any product and maintaining its quality over time.

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This article is free information from Contract Testing Inc., an established leader in sensory product research and consumer product research for the food, beverage, and (QSR) quick service restaurant industries throughout the United States and Canada. To learn more about the complete scope of product research services, please call 1-905-456-0783 or visit us onlineContractTesting.com.