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Sensory Evaluation. Chapter 6. Sensory evaluation panels. Groups of people who evaluate food samples. Three main groups – highly trained experts, laboratory panels, and consumer panels. Their input has a lot of impact on whether a food makes it from the test kitchen to the shopping cart.

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Sensory evaluation panels
Sensory evaluation panels

  • Groups of people who evaluate food samples.

  • Three main groups – highly trained experts, laboratory panels, and consumer panels.

  • Their input has a lot of impact on whether a food makes it from the test kitchen to the shopping cart.


1 h ighly trained experts
1) Highly trained experts

  • Judge the quality of a product, using standards set by the food industry.

  • Involved in testing for very complex foods that require their refined, practiced skills, and sensitivity.


2 laboratory panels
2) Laboratory panels

  • Small groups that work at a company’s laboratory.

  • Help develop new products and determine how a change may affect the quality of an existing product.


3 consumer panel
3) Consumer Panel

  • Some companies use large consumer panels to test foods outside the laboratory

  • For example: In grocery stores, shopping malls, and at market research firms.

  • Consumers tell how much they like or dislike a product or one of its flavor characteristics.


Uniform evaluations
Uniform Evaluations

  • To get the most reliable sensory information from people, researchers must make testing experiences as uniform as possible.

  • For example: all samples being the same temperature.


Minimize distractions
Minimize Distractions

  • Testing takes place in a controlled atmosphere.

  • Lighting and temperature are always kept the same.

  • One exception to this practice is the development of a new product, where an effort is made to serve the food as it would normally be eaten.


Minimize bias
Minimize bias

  • Knowing how one sense can affect another, researchers may mask irrelevant characteristics.

  • Color differences may be hidden by using colored lights

  • Testers guard against the contrast effect, which can occur when a lesser-quality food is offered right after one of higher quality.

  • Testers need to understand human psychology in addition to food science.


Help evaluators use their senses to the fullest
Help evaluators use their senses to the fullest

  • Testing often occurs in the morning or midafternoon, when people are most responsive and alert.

  • Food tasters rinse their mouths with water, between each sample.

  • Warm water is used to cleanse the mouth of fatty foods.

  • Eating a bland food, such as a cracker, also clears the taste of the previous sample.


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