Most companies manage internal and/or external sensory programs collecting product discrimination or descriptive analysis data. These programs can be extensive with tests being conducted in some cases on a daily basis. The goal of these studies is typically to provide the product developers with guidance on the sensory properties of products during the development process, with the assumption that such results will be representative of, or at least will permit to predict, consumers’ perceptions. These investigations very often involve discrimination investigations whose role is to provide insights on whether, for instance, a raw material change or formulation modification will result in a sensory difference perceptible by the consumer.
While numerous literature and seminar sources will outline how these tests should be run, they rarely, or never, address the interpretation of results that can appear counter-intuitive:
Different conclusions reached internally with the same panel but different methodologies
Internal panel concludes the similarity of a alternative to a gold standard, but consumers indicate a preference
Results from a given discrimination test (e.g. duo-trio, triangle) show proportions of correct answers significantly less than the guessing probability
If you’ve observed some of the issues described above, and simply would like to ensure that your program is optimized in light of your objectives, the Institute for Perception can come to your organization and review your various discrimination or descriptive analysis programs. We can also analyze data that you may have to identify the source of potential confounding results. An area of great interest is the set-up of action standards that will permit the measurement of consumer relevant sensory differences and guide you using a truly consumer driven decision structure. IFP can be of assistance there as well.
We will be glad to discuss a potential project with you and provide a corresponding proposal with associated cost estimates if necessary. Feel free to contact us at (804) 675 2980 or request a proposal here. We look forward to hearing from you.