Sensory Research and Evaluation

Sensory research and evaluation

is all about taking your product beyond the ability of the general consumer.

We have a highly trained and experienced sensory panel with high sensory acuity

What is Sensory Evaluation?

We will work with you to determine which sensory method best suits your needs and budget

  • Quantitative descriptive analysis (QDA) – we create a list of product attributes to accurately describe the product(s). Panellists then rate all products against the descriptive scales. This generates a profile which can be used to pinpoint product differences.
    Difference Testing / Discrimination Testing – accurately measure whether differences between products can be distinguished (through Triangle and R-Index testing)
  • Time Intensity Testing – measures the strength of individual attributes to describe product characteristics
  • Shelf life testing
  • Rapid Profiling – alternative methods of evaluating ranges (through napping and flash profiling techniques)
  • Optimisation Modelling – a predictive model which generates predicted consumer liking for you category

Why is Sensory Analysis and Product Testing Important?

We can help you to understand

  • Where your product sits in relation to competitors through category mapping (through a full category profile, ideally with every SKU in the category)
  • Whether consumers will notice if you adjust the product
  • What is the sensory profile of your product (a sensory blueprint in a language R&D teams can act upon)
  • How sensory attributes such as appearance, aroma, flavour, mouthfeel and aftertaste perform
  • How to reformulate or change recipe without alienating your consumers (for example, reduce the amount of sodium or sugar in your products)
  • How a product’s organoleptic properties change over its shelf life (both real time and accelerated)
  • How to identify space for new product development through using maps created by sensory profiling
  • How to integrate sensory data with consumer results to understand preference drivers at a sensory attribute level
  • How to create product improvements in greater detail than from consumer testing alone
  • How prototypes, international products or ‘wildcard’ competitors compare in profile against your product
  • Our Sensory Research Facilities

    We have a fantastic Sensory Science Testing and Research Centre in Westerham, Kent. This is equipped with a large central hub kitchen (lots of space for hot and cold food preparation), ovens, chillers and freezers and store rooms.

    We have 2 panel profiling rooms with the following facilities

    • Sensory panellists sit in privacy booths
    • lit by ‘northern lighting’
    • temperature controlled
    • humidity controlled
    • real time panel monitoring
    • data is captured using Compusense.

    If it sounds technical, that’s because it is a bit! We are very proud of our ability to offer a full product evaluation service, from sensory profiling and analysis, right through to product development, consumer tests and product optimisation

    Many of the studies we run combine consumer and sensory testing, and our in-house analytics team examine the results. We use combined data to identify product attributes that drive appeal, consumer association maps and predictive modelling to predict consumer scores based on the sensory data.

    Our experience spans many different categories – (frozen, soft drinks, meal solutions, dairy, baby products, snacks, air fresheners, paper products, alcohol) – so we know how important it is to create a bespoke approach based on YOUR category.

    Our sensory centre has recently been supporting many TV shows. We have recently featured on the BBC three times, as well as Channel 4 and ITV News, allowing film crews to film behind the scenes at our sensory lab. We have recently featured on The One Show, Watchdog Test House and The Victoria Derbyshire Show, as well as on the BBC News Website (Health by Stealth: Inside The Food Lab)


    If you are interested to know more about the fascinating sensory research work we do, please give us a call and speak to our sensory experts. We’d love to show you around the Sensory Science Centre, and maybe even test YOUR taste buds!

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Welcome to Walnut Unlimited: The human understanding agency.

Marketing Sciences Unlimited has evolved into Walnut Unlimited: The human understanding agency. At the heart of our proposition is a single concept – human understanding –underpinned with no-nonsense science to generate purposeful insights.

We want to help you better connect with your customers and believe these human insights deliver brand growth.

Created by bringing together all four of the Unlimited Group’s insight agencies: ICM Unlimited, ICM Direct, Marketing Sciences Unlimited and Walnut Unlimited we will deliver a new offer which is greater than the sum of its individual parts.

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