A Sensory Experience
When food and beverages are created, they provide a sensory experience for the consumer. Our senses play an important role in how we evaluate a product and although our senses seem subjective, they can be measured by the application of specific methods and techniques.
It is important that a brand’s sensory experience for the consumer is consistent. When consumers eat food or taste a beverage over a period that sensory perception should be the same. This is especially important in global brands, for example a product in one country needs to match the exact sensory experience of the consumer in another.
As products are developed from the concept stage to final consumer products, sensory testing is a very important part of that development cycle. To evaluate a product subjectively the taster, or taste panel needs to be able to quantify and identify components of the product. Sensory analysis is used at various stages to improve decisions made in the development cycle. This helps to improve the probability of the product’s success. Therefore, a common language needs to be developed to describe flavour profiles and brand characteristics.
FlavorActiV’s global team of sensory specialists are frequently called upon by the world’s largest food & beverage brand owners to deliver expert training, whether that’s In-Person, At-Distance or On-Demand. From structured sensory courses and tailored sessions to company-wide sensory program rollout from the ground up, FlavorActiV are perfectly placed to support all levels of sensory capabilities. Through quality sensory training, individuals can become effective sensory professionals and refine the skill of flavour determination and understanding across production and quality control. GMP Flavour Standards and sector specific Flavour Lexicons are provided to ensure tasters are equipped with the tools needed to establish a common language when expertly expressing the sensory profile and characteristics of a brand.
Sensory Flavour Standards
FlavorActiV provides sector specific GMP Flavour Standards. The blend within the capsules convey the smell, taste and mouthfeel of a specific off-note or positive flavour into a beverage. These are used for sensory taster training, calibration and quality control. FlavorActiV’s GMP Flavour Standards are available and used for a wide range of sectors, including….
- Olive Oil
- CSD / Soft Drink
Each GMP flavour standard kit comprises industry specific capsules. These capsules are pharmaceutical grade and stored in blister packs for a long shelf life. The packs contain GMP standards of positive flavours, off-notes or taints with a wide range of standards available.
Using GMP flavour standards from FlavorActiV couldn’t be easier. The capsule is removed from the blister pack, opened, and dissolved in water or in the product. If food needs to be tested the capsule is dissolved in water and sprayed on the food for tasing. The sensory panel can then use the standard to train themselves on different sensory experiences.
Taster Calibration, or Proficiency, as it’s known, is regularly used by tasters and sensory panels. It is the next step for trained tasters to validate the established learnings they’ve gained about food and beverage quality. The taster validation scheme consists of a subscription service where blind packs of GMP Flavour Standards are sent out to tasting panels around the world at specified intervals. Once the testing results have been submitted, the panel leaders will be presented with a detailed breakdown of individual and panel performance to give a full picture of sensory performance over time. Learning and training opportunities are then spotted, making this an excellent tool for food and beverage quality control and product improvement.
Aroma Analysis using eNose Technology
To complement human sensory panels instrumentation can also be used to assist in the determination of the flavour profile of a product. E-Nose is an electronic nose detecting odours and flavours that can run 24/7 with only one operator required at a time, to assess the chemical compound and related sensory attributes of food and beverages. The system can be especially useful where many samples are required to be tested. The E-Nose also has strong consistency across samples allowing benchmarking and product profile comparisons to be easily made.
Beer Bitterness using IBULyser Technology
The IBUlLyser provides automatic detection of beer bitterness. Bitterness in beer is formed by the iso-a-acids which are naturally present in the hops used in beer production. The analyser automates the manual methods and complements sensory testing for bitterness testing. Samples are tested in under 15 minutes and provide the same accuracy as manual methods. The system allows the user to keep tight control of IBU/EBU values.
Beverage Freshness using microESR Technology
The freshness of beer provides an insight into damaging free radicals that accumulate in beer. The microESR helps brewers identify actionable areas for improvement in beer processing. The system allows samples to be taken from each stage of the brewing cycle and can be measured by the system to determine the ability to resist free radical formation. This helps generate an oxidation profile that the brewers can use to guide them in process optimisation.
FlavorActiV provides a complete solution to all your sensory testing and training needs. Partnered with JWII in Australia and New Zealand we can provide local support to the region. Contact us today for further information.
Sensory questions answered by our experts
What is the importance of sensory evaluation in beverages?
Using a human taste panel to evaluate a beverage is extremely important as the sensory perception of these products have an impact on the consistency and quality of a beverage.
What are the basic requirements for effective sensory evaluation?
The correct preparation of the sample is a key so there is consistency. The taste panel must also be able to identify off-notes, taints and positive flavours and this is where sensory testing, training and benchmarking becomes essential.
Why do food scientists conduct food sensory tests?
Sensory testing is used for product development during the R&D phase of a product. Sensory is also used as part of the product quality control.
Why is sensory science important in the food industry?
Sensory analysis is widely used in the food industry as part of product consistency and quality checks, it is also used in shelf life studies, flavor profiling and to evaluate consumer preferences.
What are the types of sensory panelists?
Typically sensory panelists are selected from within the key factory personnel, these people are then trained on sensory testing, a panel may contain a mix of semi-trained and fully trained members. Companies like FlavorActiv https://www.flavoractiv.com/ provide these training services. Other typical types of panel are made up of consumers, who are taken from the general public and asked to evaluate a product.
Are instruments used in sensory evaluation?
Yes there is a range of instrumentation available on the market. These instruments can look at appearance and also smell and taste. They are typically made up of analysis techniques like spectrophotometers, colorimeters, chromatography and ion-mobility
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