Sensory evaluation is at the heart of what we do at Sensory Dimensions. Traditional sensory testing by trained panels comprises between 40 – 50% of our business. Moreover, our consumer research business specialises in product evaluation and as such is underpinned by the principles of good sensory practice.
Given this you would rightly expect that we have a number of trained sensory assessors within our business. But can you believe that at present this number totals over 270?!
At the core are the descriptive profiling panels located in both Reading and Nottingham. Trained in the fundamentals of QDA based descriptive sensory profiling, it will be one of these panels that is employed for your ad-hoc sensory testing projects. Each panel works on a variety of products. For example, the Reading panel has conducted brand mapping of a range of fruit juices; assessed the impact of ingredient change in croissants; and compared breakfast cereals to determine why consumers like one more than the other.
Nottingham is the home of our Household and Personal Care evaluation service. Supporting this is a skin care panel trained to ASTM standards. There are also large groups of ladies trained to assess the characteristics of shampoo, conditioner and other hair care goodies as well as men who profile male toiletries and grooming products. These latter two groups are client dedicated meaning that they work for one particular client company. This client has invested in the recruitment, training and maintenance of the panel ensuring that it is available to respond to their business needs. The set up and management of client dedicated panels is a growing area of interest. It affords the client the advantage of a highly trained sensory resource without the burden of panel management, training or the need to support a Panel Leader and facility.
Other client dedicated panels at Sensory Dimensions work on beer, electronic cigarettes and potato products. We are unusual in the UK in that we have recruited and trained a Spectrum profiling panel, which is used regularly by one of our clients.
Setting up such a large number of trained panels at Sensory Dimensions means that we have developed a huge amount of experience across the business in not only the recruitment, selection and training of sensory panellists, but also the training of Panel Leaders.