Theory of Sensory Analysis
Sensory analysis is very important in the development of any new product. It is used to answer questions relating to product quality, discrimination, description or preference. Sensory analysis which can also be referred to as sensory evaluation can be defined as a scientific method used to evoke, measure, analyse and interpret responses of panellists to products as perceived through the senses of sight, smell, touch, taste and hearing (Stone and Sidel, 1993). The principles and practices of sensory testing involve each of the four activities mentioned in this definition. It uses testing techniques to accurately measure human responses to food products by minimizing any biasing effects such as brand identity which could possibly have an influence on consumer perception of the product. It attempts to isolate the sensory properties of food products themselves and provide important and useful information to the product developers and food scientists about the sensory characteristics of their products. The tests require panels of human assessors, on whom the products are tested. These tests need to take place in a well lit room with minimal noise and odours, these factors help to ensure that the testing is fair and unbiased. The assessors should also be in separate booths in the room so that they cannot interact with one another causing them to have an influence on each other’s opinion of the product. Proper analysis of the data recorded after testing is a critical part of sensory analysis. The data recorded from human observers is often highly variable. There are many factors which may affect human responses to the product that cannot be controlled during testing. Examples of these include the mood and motivation of the participant, their innate sensitivity to sensory stimulation, and their past history and familiarity with similar products.
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