Sensory evaluation is made possible by the senses of taste, smell, touch and hearing when food is eaten. When people are used as a measuring instrument, it is necessary to control the testing conditions as much as possible. This is why P&K places such importance on having the right booths, filtered water, special lighting, etc. In addition, every product is stored, prepared and served in the same way to insure consistency. These tools and methods help us to standardize procedures and eliminate as many variables from the testing process as possible. We ask each test subject to evaluate the product that they are presented with on characteristics such as appearance, flavor, texture, etc. without any outside influences. In other words, we want each test subject to evaluate the “same” product. Even if we prepare “product A” 100 times, we want it to be prepared in the same manner every time.
Always the Right Evaluation Method
Sensory Evaluation can be divided into three types: trained experts, laboratory panels and large consumer acceptance panels. Evaluations by experts and trained laboratory panels are used mainly by a client to guide product development and improvement and also for quality control. At Peryam & Kroll, we work primarily with consumer acceptance panels. Large consumer acceptance panels are used to determine a consumer’s reaction to a product. When dealing with consumer acceptance panels, the approach is opposite to that of trained experts and laboratory panels. When people are trained to evaluate specific characteristics of a product, they are no longer a typical consumer. We want the consumer to be “naïve.” We are gathering information based on what the consumer thinks of a product. We want their impressions, opinions, likes and dislikes.
Due to the fact that most of the products we work with are under development, it is imperative that the brand and manufacturer names and types of products we are testing never be disclosed to a tester or to anyone else. P&K always refers to the product as instructed and never influences a tester’s evaluations by disclosing the name of the company that manufactured the product. This is especially true when conducting one-on-one interviews.
Confidentiality is of great importance to P&K. Participants in a given test are always asked to read and sign a confidentiality form.