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PROFESSIONE TECNOLOGI ALIMENTARI
  • Food products sensory evaluation
  • Nowadays consumers are increasingly careful and informed not only on food nutritional aspects, but they also expect to receive a certain amount of sensory/hedonistic pleasure.
  • Manufacturers’ evaluation of the products in order to characterize aspects of subjective sensory perceptions and make any changes in order to achieve an improved market perception.

Specific case

The Caps coffee case

Objectives

The project originated from a specific request made by a client company to compare the capsules produced by the market-leading producer and their own capsules (private label) in order to analyse how these differed from the reference product.

Sensory analysis has subsequently allowed to build partnerships with manufacturer’s technicians, in relation to blend, providing appropriate indications in order to obtain a product as close to the reference value as possible.

Method

  1. Identification of descriptors
    The first phase included a tasting session by a trained panel composed of 6 judges, who were asked to differentiate the organoleptic features of the tested samples.

    During this phase, it was possible to create what is known as “Sensory product profile”. The Sensory profile is the descriptive analysis of product samples by a panel of judges. The method is based on the idea that the sensory effect of specimens consists of a number of identifiable sensory attributes (descriptors). The list of all relevant sensory descriptors (including defects), each with its intensity, creates the sensory profile. From this session, a sensory board was extrapolated in order to create the profile at a later stage. By default, typical descriptors regarding defects were also included.

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  3. Sample analysis
    At this stage, the judge analysed one sample at a time quantifying the perceived intensity of each descriptor.

    This analysis has allowed to create a graph through which it was possible to highlight the differences between the various samples.

    In this specific case, the customer’s product has been compared to the main Leader’s product. As you can see from the graph, the Client’s product had to be amended in order to be comparable to the Leader’s product. Along with technical experts, we discussed possible solutions in order to achieve the desired results.

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  5. Hedonistic index
    During the last phase of the test, the judges were asked to evaluate the product from an hedonistic point of view (right part of the sheet). It should be noted that in this case, the judge’s opinion is purely subjective. In the chart below, the first sample refers to the Client’s sample and the second to the leading brand, for all samples (C01 to C8).

    All hedonistic values were then put in the graph in order to obtain an overview of the results of all compared products. In the specific case, some Client’s product values were even better than the leading product ‘s (see sample C07 compared to C08).

    This work was carried out with the help of a panel of trained judges, but consumer tests can be carried out as well (Consumer Test) involving 150 untrained judges, habitual coffee consumers. This test allows to predict how the product will be perceived by the consumer and consequently, the market.

Conclusioni
This project has allowed us to provide the Client with a comparison for each reference with its reference leading product. Later, it was possible to establish a collaboration with the producer’s technicians in order to identify appropriate changes to blends with the purpose of obtaining a product as close to the market leading product as possible.

 

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