Background of Sensory test
The crunchy sound and spicy, sour-salty, creamy texture of a French fry make you crave food products, and this is the best formulation that evokes sensory perception to consume food articles. In this way, food industries and allied food sciences survive their products in a competitive market. The first crucial impression of a food article is the organoleptic characteristic feature that meets the first encounter of consumer expectation. The major driving force of food choice depends on its perfection in terms of cost, flavor, taste, texture, and healthiness. This organoleptic characteristic of food collectively stimulates the sense organs to crave food at any cost to enhance appetite. This is the key factor in determining the brand quality of food and the development of food formulation. Human beings are always fascinated by the aroma, essence, taste, flavor, and texture of food and its products for centuries, which may be innate or additive in nature. The innate aroma, essence, taste, flavor, and texture could be one of the features used for its key signature of product identification, while additive flavors and fragrances could be developed through various permutations and combination processes or lead to synergistic effects that are the sensory signature of that food product. However, our primary goal of understanding necessitates sensory testing of raw to finished food materials, which is critical for developing a new food product or research and development in food-related industries.
What is sensory testing?
The sensory test of food is a qualitative approach to the collective evaluation of food acceptability based on the aroma, essence, taste, flavor, and texture of food as perceived by human sense organs used as measuring apparatus. It is most important for that food to appeal to the consumer’s sense organs in terms of color, sound (e.g., crunchy sound), appearance, smell, touch, and taste. This is the first site of action in the food quality evaluation done by consumers, and it makes the major decision to consume the food materials.
What type of sensory testing is done on food?
Multiple criteria are used in the sensory test, and they are compared to one another. Three methods are used to administer the sensory test: difference tests, descriptive tests, and affective tests.
Difference or Discrimination tests: –
It is used to find out the differences in foods based on odor, taste, and texture, which can be further evaluated by three different methods: the Triangle test, the Duo-trio test, and the Paired comparison test, as follows.
- Triangle Test: It is a discriminative method applied to determine the characteristic difference in sensory science, and it gauges between the products. Changes in processing or ingredient attributes that have materially altered a product can assist panelists in assessing differences. In this triangle test, a sensory panelist gets one unique sample and two comparable samples. The triangular test can select odd samples from the other two similar samples to keep in the tray.
- Duo-trio test: It is also used to detect food product differences based on the basics of ingredient supplier changes, storage, packaging, etc. Panelists can determine whether the sample is identical to the standard. Three samples are kept in the tray in this system, one of which is labelled “R” for reference and the other two coded samples are assigned based on which one is identical to a reference sample.
- Paired comparison: It is a straightforward test to determine which of the two samples has the highest sensory attribute of interest. As a result, the likelihood of a 50% selection ratio of total samples is high.
Descriptive Tests: –
Food products can be distinguished by sensory attributes on the basis of quality and quantity. Moreover, an individual’s attribute intensity is also measured. This method is basically used for the description of sensory attributes of various aspects as given to the ranking system, such as aroma, the texture of food products, or flavor profiling. It is mostly used during new product development to follow QA/QC specifications, evaluate shelf life, and evaluate packaging effects. The evaluation of intensity in each sensory attribute, such as flavor profile tests, texture profile tests, spectrum descriptive analysis, qualitative tests, and free choice profiling
This class of testing method evaluates the likeness and clear-cut expression of the acceptance likelihood of a food product. It is also called acceptance, preference, or consumer testing. This type of sensory test used large panels of untrained, inexperienced judges to measure the sensory attributes one at a time. Affective testing measures the acceptability or preference of products with various evaluation techniques such as paired preference tests, ranking tests, hedonic tests, etc.
Why is sensory testing required in food products?
The demand for food sensory testing is exponentially growing at a significant rate with the rise of local innovative food and beverage industries and the diversification of cuisine development. The ultimate scale sign of the food development process is consumer reaction or acceptance. Sensory analysis is the vital test for the evaluation of the Total Quality Control and freshness of food products, and it governs the first site of interest among consumer choices of products. As a result, several factors are required to optimize the level of consumers’ highest preference for likely products, such as product appearance, color, flavor, taste, oral texture, aroma, and shelf life, among others. This all makes for a great influencer to sustain in the consumer market. Sensory tests also help to evaluate and select the packaging material and its effects on food ingredients to find the best option for the desired products. Where new product formulation, development, or research meets the consumer market must require the sensory test. Sensory input is also required when optimizing cost-effective products. The sensory analysis also helps set up a coefficient of multiple correlations among chemical analysis, instrumentation, and physical analysis with sensory analysis for new food products and pediatric medicine development, and this data can be used for quickly monitoring the quality of food products.
What are the challenges for food sensory analysis?
Instrument-based data do not fully comply with the human-based sensory test, even though the human perception of taste buds varies with age, psychophysical health, or other factors. Sometimes experimental sensory analysis ranking systems vary with sociodemographics, which promotes dissimilarities. There is always the possibility of bias arising in sensory judgments when employing human sense organs as sensory measurement apparatus. Regular testing of sensory attributes needs well-trained and healthy panel scientists, which may be a big task or expansive, and also needs annual health assessments for panel scientists to maintain fitness for the next sensory analysis and to find out which panel has good health for the specific study inclusion criteria for sensory analysis.
What are the national and international methods to address sensory analysis?
The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has established a committee, ISO/TC34/SC12, to govern sensory analysis and compliance method development, and they have published 31 sensory standards. As a result, there are several national and international standard methods for sensory testing, such as ISO 6658:2017, which provides general guidance for sensory analysis of food; ISO 3103:2019, which is used for tea, and IS (ISO 3591:1977, ISO 5496:2006, ISO 5497:1982, ISO 6668:2008), among others. Indian Standard: IS 6273-1 (1971), used for food sensory evaluation; IS 7768 (1975), used for milk sensory evaluation, and IS 15346: the method used for paneer or chhana sensory evaluation.
Future advancement in the sensory testing method
- Data mining and computing simulations of current food sensory trends in society
- Decoding and correlating consumers’ physiological and psychological behavior during food perception.
- Characterization and quantification of sensational sensory base proteins, ligands, or bio-active components
- Development of bio-metric technology for consumer food perception
- Artificial intelligence is incorporated in sensory food analysis to define the specificity of food perception.
- To develop an electronic nose for the understanding of consumer food perception
Culivator Phyto Lab is one of the best destinations for sensory analysis
Cultivator Phyto Lab has established a top-notch, cutting-edge technology-supported testing laboratory and is at the forefront of sensory analysis. To assess the sensory analysis of raw and finished products in accordance with national and international standards, we have highly trained a number of panelists. We also help you perform research in line with current laws and produce innovative culinary products.
Authors: Dr. Sanjoy Gupta and Mr. Sajid Hussain