Saturday, September 26, 2009

Sensory Testing

Sensory Testing
Sensory testing utilizes one or more of the five senses to evaluate foods.

Taste panels, comprising groups of people, taste specific food samples under controlled conditions and evaluate them in different ways depending on the particular sensory test being conducted.

This is the only type of testing that can measure consumer preference and acceptability.

When it comes to public opinion of a product, there is no substitute for tasting by individual consumers.

In addition to a taste –panel evaluation, objective tests can be established that correlate with sensory testing, which give an indication of consumer acceptability, but this may not always be sufficient.

In the development of new foods or when changing an existing product, it is necessary to determine consumer acceptance directly and objective testing is not sufficient, even though it may be a reliable, objective indication of food quality.

Sensory methods may be used to determine:
*Whether foods differ in taste, odor, juiciness, tenderness, texture and so on.
*To what extend food differ
*To ascertain consumer preferences and to determine whether a certain food is acceptable to a specific consumer group.

Three types of sensory testing are commonly used, each with different goal.

Discrimination or difference tests are design to determine whether there is a difference between products, descriptive tests determine the extent of difference in specific sensory characteristics and affective or acceptance/preference tests determine how well the products are liked or which products are preferred.

There are important differences between these types of tests. It is important to select the appropriate type of test so that the results obtained are able to answer the question being asked about the products and are useful to the manufacturer or product developer.

The appropriate tests must be used under suitable conditions in order for results to be interpreted correctly.

All testing must be carried out under controlled conditions, with controlled lighting, sound (no noise), and temperature to minimize distractions and other adverse psychological factors.
Sensory Testing
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