What is the best combination of toppings for a frozen pizza? What is the best combination of energy bars to include in a variety pack for bulk sale? What is the best combination of salty snacks to select for a category appraisal? The search for optimal combinations appears throughout sensory science and the use of tools such as conjoint analysis has demonstrated a widespread interest in these problems. Even so, there exists an entire category of unsolved problems that are not easily accessed with tools in common use.
To build successful large combinations out of smaller combinations, one can now combine algorithms from the mathematical field of graph theory with the speed advantages offered by modern computers to solve problems that were previously unapproachable. These new techniques make it possible to find optimal combinations from a potentially astronomical number of possibilities; in some examples the number of combinations can exceed the number of grains of sand on all the beaches of the world. Using the techniques provided by this module, one can:
- Find high-quality combinations of ingredients, benefits, and flavors.
- Determine best combinations of products for inclusion in category appraisals.
- Identify compatible product bundles.
Combinatorial Tools are available in the Enhanced and Professional versions.
Sample output/results windows generated when performing these tests are shown below. For more examples, please see the IFPrograms™ User Manual.
Graph Theoretic Analysis