Would you like to excite your customers by giving them a truly holistic experience of your products? And would you like the assurance that your new staple or luxury food products have a long commercial future? If so, then impress your customers with products that fulfill all their expectations regarding odor, taste, appearance, and texture and maximize the potential for product innovation. We carry out sensory analytics and consumer studies and develop clear strategies for product optimization, consumer acceptance, and enhanced market success. To achieve this we employ our extensive range of sensory and instrumental analyses, consumer tests, and statistical methods and provide you with comprehensive advice.
The odor and taste of foods can only be measured using sensory analytics. In order to determine, describe, and quantify the differences between a series of products we employ descriptive sensory methods. Traditional methods such as Quantitative Descriptive Analysis® (QDA) are widely used to objectively (analytically) appraise the sensory properties of foods and consumer goods and to qualitatively and quantitatively study characteristic structural properties. The analyses are performed exclusively by trained panels and require a lot of time and training.
In addition to these traditional methods, the Fraunhofer IVV also uses rapid modern techniques for the sensory profiling of food products. These include flash profiling, various mapping techniques, grouping methods, and Check All That Apply (CATA).
In addition to the sensory profiling of foods and their ingredients, any odor-active compounds present in the foods can provide further important information about the characteristics of the food products. These compounds can be analyzed at the molecular level using gas chromatography - olfactometry (GC-O), and gas chromatography - mass spectrometry (GC-MS), and a combination of both (GC-O/MS).
The extent to which sensory differences between food products affect consumer acceptance and preference is determined in consumer tests (hedonistic or subjective tests). The consumers here spontaneously answer questions regarding their acceptance and preference of products having different sensory characteristics. Consumer tests can be designed as either preference tests or acceptance tests. In preference tests the consumers indicate their preferred product of several products, whilst in acceptance tests all the products under test are evaluated to determine if they are liked/disliked.
Depending on the aim of the research we complement the customized questionnaire with Just About Right (JAR) and Check All That Apply (CATA) to get an even better understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the tested products. The choice of relevant questions depends on the aim of the test. The questionnaires are drawn up to meet your requirements and expectations.
Such consumer tests are usually carried out at the end of the product development stage. In some cases tests are conducted in earlier phases of the development work in order to select prototypes that have a greater probability of success based on their sensory properties.
The correlation of sensory and instrumental data provides detailed information about the relationship between specific chemical compounds in a food product and their importance for sensory perception. This enables specific recommendations to be made about product and process optimization so that the products meet consumer expectations.
The use of instrumental methods such as GC-O is helpful here, enabling correlations to be made between the detected compounds and sensory impressions. GC-O analysis can be complemented by inline real-time measuring methods in order to evaluate the liberation of the identified odors. This allows, for example, potential interactions between odorants and the food ingredients (such as proteins and fats). In addition, the measurement of the odor threshold concentration for relevant odorants in the foods allows the calculation of odor indices and these lead to better estimation of the effect of each individual compound on sensory perception.
Besides classical correlations we also use statistical algorithms such as principal component analysis (PCA), multivariate multiple regression (MMR), and generalized procrustes analysis (GPA).
The results of objective and subjective sensory methods can be linked by using statistical methods such as preference mapping.
Preference mapping aims to give deeper understanding of the preferences and requirements of consumers. It provides detailed information about the acceptance of products and relevant sensory characteristics, and this is particularly useful for marketing and product development purposes. Preference mapping results in a two-dimensional sensory map highlighting the relationship between the sensory properties of products and consumer preference/acceptance.