Sensory Evaluation in Food Manufacturing: Practical Guidelines

Sensory Evaluation in Food Manufacturing: Practical Guidelines

Bogdan Florin Caliman (Unilever South Central Europe, Romania) and Corina Ene (Petroleum-Gas University of Ploiesti, Romania)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0341-5.ch012


From the earliest moments in time, humans relied on their senses in order to survive. The mechanism of sensory evaluation was not only used to assess the environment where they were living but also the food they were consuming. Manufacturing good food is a direct result of having the right ingredients, recipe and process in place. In this chapter we aim to share some practical guidelines on how to manage when dealing with a bigger kitchen, as in food manufacturing there is always the need of having a systematized sensory evaluation. Given the high complexity of this topic, authors will tackle the subject by generally approaching sensory analysis and its role in organoleptic quality evaluation and will further go through the practical steps of setting the sensory panel room, selection and training of panel participants, setting up a testing panel and interpreting the results.
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Sensory Evaluation Of Food: Background

Sensory evaluation can be defined as a scientific discipline used to evoke, measure, analyze and interpret those responses to products that are perceived by the senses (Stone&Sidel, 1993).

As scientific discipline, food sensory evaluation analyses and measures human responses (sight, smell, taste, touch and hearing) aiming at evaluating foods and drinks in terms of appearance, touch, odor, texture, temperature and taste. Sensory analysis could also be defined by its main directions, as follows (Oliveira, 2011):

  • 1.

    Identification of food product (s) properties;

  • 2.

    Scientific measurement of food product(s) properties;

  • 3.

    Analysis and interpretation of the identified and measured food product properties - as perceived through the five senses (sight, smell, taste, touch, hearing).

Sensory science rely on the fact that human beings are the best measuring instruments which can accurately describe and identify the sensory properties of products and materials related to the basic senses. Perceiving then quantifying these senses allows for relating them to product acceptance/preference - the ultimate goal in product development (Gacula, 1997).

Sensory science comprises a set of techniques for accurate measuring of human response to foods and ingredients and to minimize the potential biasing effects of other information influences on consumer perception.

The utility of food sensory evaluation derives from the array of its applications in:

  • Assessing and improving the quality of food (cost reduction, ingredient/process change, ingredients/purchase specifications);

  • Comparing similarities between raw materials or foodstuffs;

  • Design and implementation of new products (cost-efficient delivery of new products with high consumer acceptability;

  • Analyzing the modified/enhanced properties of foodstuffs;

  • Collecting information on consumers’ preference regarding manufactured food products;

  • Checking whether food products meet original specification and standards;

  • Providing feedback data to enable informed decisions (e.g. product development), reducing uncertainty and risks;

  • Food and ingredients qualitative reception as a logistic phase.

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