The Dynamic Duo – P&K’s Legacy

BACKGROUND

David R. Peryam (1915 – 1992) & Beverley J. Kroll (1929 – 2021) had a passion to measure and understand  consumer preferences and the reasons behind these preferences. Both were prolific contributors to the field of Sensory Science. David, known as the ‘Father of Sensory Evaluation’ and Beverley, an astute business woman, joined forces and together founded P&K Research Corporation. 

WHERE IT ALL BEGAN

They met at the Quartermaster Food and Container Institute (QMFCI) in Chicago. During that time, David Peryam, a psychologist, had been hired to head the Food Acceptance Research Branch. Beverley Kroll was assisting the operations of the Food Acceptance Testing Laboratories.

Expert judgement, trained panels and consumer judgement were used to develop quality specifications for Army rations and testing was conducted in laboratories primarily using the preference method.

The first panel booths for food product sensory evaluation in the United States (1945-1957).

David Peryam, along with the National Research Council  Advisory committee, expanded the external research program at the QMFCI in Chicago involving distinguished psychologists at universities across the country working together in food acceptance methodologies.

The 9-Point Hedonic Scale
Conducting Sensory Research with Children

TRADITIONAL HEDONIC SCALE

Questionnaire used for food preferences with hedonic scale method.

One of the greatest accomplishments from the Food Acceptance Branch was the development of the 9-point hedonic scale. The scale length was determined experimentally (5, 7, 9, and 11).  All proved similar in discrimination, but the 9-point length resulted in greater repeatability and due to the limitations of paper size and fixed pitch typewriters, the nine point was the scale of choice.

The 9-point scale originally was tested conceptually – directing the test subject to focus their attention toward their feeling about the food, and later with actual stimuli.

Soldiers test coffee in the mess hall at Fort Bragg (Department of Defense photo).

KID-FRIENDLY HEDONIC SCALE

With the growth of products marketed toward children, the need for testing with children increased because of their influence on purchase decision.  In 1990, Beverley realized that the science was static and did not keep up with the needs of this specialty population. After reviewing child-oriented word scales designed by others, a decision was made to develop a new scale and it was named the P&K scale.

Children 8-10 also tested using self-administered questionnaire in sensory booths.

THE GROWTH OF P&K RESEARCH

1

The Beginning

The need of CPG’s for consumer research coupled with the move of the QMFCI to Natrick, MA led Beverley to create Food Facts (currently known as P&K Research).

2

The Dynamic Duo

In 1964, David joins Beverley. David had the technical knowledge and Beverley the practical application know-how.

3

The Start of their Success

In the late 1970’s, a major cookie manufacturer with production in Chicago together with Beverley and David, established a discrimination panel.

4

Increase in demand

In the late 1980’s, the need for consumer insights across several categories grew in demand. The company gained success in Illinois.

5

Expansion

After its success in Illinois, the second facility was established in California in the late 1980’s. This facility was personally designed by Beverley.

6

Buy out

In 1985, Beverley bought David out. David stayed with the company as Chief Science Officer.

7

Texas

In the 1990’s, Texas became the third P&K Research location.

8

Press

In 1993, the Chicago Tribune featured P&K Research with the article “Putting new food products to the test.”

9

David R. Peryam Award

In 1995, Beverley Kroll and the ASTM Committee E18 established the David R. Peryam Award to recognize outstanding professionals in the applied sensory science field. Beverley was also a recipient of this award.

10

New York

In 2004, P&K Research opened its fourth location in New York.

11

Recognition

In 2011, P&K featured in Honomichl Top 50 as one of the top Market Research companies in the United States.

13

Philanthropy

Beverley becomes increasingly active in charitable causes.

14

Global Reach

Beverley pushed the company’s expertise world-wide.

LEGACY

David R. Peryam and Beverley J. Kroll were pioneers in the field and thanks to their contributions, P&K Research is a leader in sensory and consumer testing. The company is a research partner to the world’s leading CPG companies and continues to grow.