3 Aug 2023
Welcome to the captivating world of Puratos's Global Sensory Panel - a league of passionate and talented employees from around the world, driving the art of flavor innovation. Through meticulous sensory evaluations on diverse finished products, they master the intricate nuances of taste, texture, and aroma, shaping delightful sensations that captivate taste buds worldwide.
In this article, we unveil the secrets behind their expert techniques. Join us as we step into the realm of flavor excellence. Welcome to the fascinating world of the Global Sensory Panel at Puratos!
At Puratos, our dedication to flavor innovation goes beyond mere expertise; it's a true sensory journey led by our Global Sensory Panel. Composed of passionate Puratos employees from around the world, this experienced team performs frequent sensory evaluations on various finished products, aiming to objectively measure sensations that define a product's quality and market success.
Sensory characteristics are properties perceived while eating a food product (e.g. how the product melts in your mouth, how sweet it is, its texture and more). To bridge the gap between consumers' subjective likes and dislikes and the objective measurement of taste and texture, sensory analysis emerges as a crucial science.
Sensory analysis allows to translate consumer wishes, perception and liking into rwell-crafted ecipes and process specifications. Consumers, being non-experts, often find it challenging to articulate the reasons behind their likes or dislikes. Hence, the use of specialized vocabulary and methodologies becomes crucial in discerning the exact ingredients or technical attributes that truly resonate with their senses.
The sensory panel is a group of people trained to distinguish and evaluate all aspects regarding taste, flavor, and texture of food products. These sensory judges act as measuring tools, using their senses to evaluate finished goods that cannot be instrumentally measured. Indeed, human perception is a highly complex phenomenon, and no machine can perfectly mimic what happens in the mouth when a product is consumed.
At Puratos, we have several internal sensory panels in Belgium and around the world (China, Brazil, Chile, Vietnam,…). All these panels consist of Puratos employees who perform multiple sensory evaluations each week on various types of finished products, including cakes, soft bread, fruit fillings, and chocolate.
The aim of the sensory panel is to evaluate the sensory properties of the products as objectively as possible. This means that the sensory judges have to set aside their spontaneous appreciation of a product and focus on answering specific questions about its taste and texture. This is no trivial task: as human beings, we spontaneously react subjectively when we eat a product (how much we like it or not). Going beyond this spontaneous reaction and acting as a machine to measure objective aspects is very difficult and requires extensive training.
The sensory panel can perform various types of analytical tasks, depending on the researcher's objectives:
Discriminative tests aim to validate the presence or absence of perceptible differences between two products. These tests are particularly useful in cases of reformulation.
Descriptive tests aim to define the different sensations perceived when consuming a product. For instance, when evaluating texture, the panelists may use precise vocabulary to describe sensations like softness, chewiness, and moistness. These tests allow for detailed descriptions and quantification of the sensory experiences.
The conclusions drawn from the tests performed by the sensory panel provide valuable information on product characterization, positioning, and offer insights into ways to enhance recipes or processes.
In addition to our internal sensory evaluations, Puratos has pioneered exclusive innovative tools to gain valuable insights into consumer preferences. Our Sensobusses are meticulously designed to capture real-time consumer sensory input. While consumers spontaneously share their opinions about product preferences, our internal sensory panel diligently describes and quantifies the sensations experienced during consumption.
By bridging these two sets of information, we can pinpoint the key sensory drivers that influence liking.
Sensory Analysis exemplifies the strength of Puratos, as it seamlessly blends our internal expertise with an in-depth understanding of end-consumer desires. This harmonious fusion enables us to meet consumer demands and continuously innovate.