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CAFRE

Sensory evaluation support offered at CAFRE

August 10, 2021

Consumers may not realise that they use sensory evaluation on a daily basis when consuming food, using the senses of sight, smell, taste, touch and hearing.  This sensory experience is crucial for consumer satisfaction and for new product development within the food industry.   The College of Agriculture Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE) has the facilities to help your company take your sensory requirements to the next level.

Sensory evaluation is a scientific discipline used to measure and analyse how products are perceived by the human senses and it plays an important role within the food industry.  Businesses use insights from sensory evaluation to aid decision making, which will ultimately affect customer satisfaction and commercial success.

Sensory evaluation is used in different applications such as new product development and recipe reformulation, for example reducing fat or sugar levels in food. It is also used to benchmark products against competitors, quality assurance, shelf life analysis and taint identification. The data provided can determine if differences are perceived between products, the level of acceptability and if there is a preference for one product over another.

Sensory evaluation is conducted under controlled conditions to produce accurate and reliable results. The sensory analysis suite at CAFRE includes a dedicated preparation kitchen, ten computerised assessment booths, fully complaint with British Standards and a behavioural assessment room. The current Covid-19 restrictions and social distancing guidelines has resulted in difficulties in the delivery of sensory evaluation, however technologists at CAFRE have adapted and successfully delivered a number of remote sensory panels.   

Food Technology Branch staff at CAFRE have recently completed training and been awarded Institute of Food Science and Technology qualifications in Sensory Science at Foundation Level. Food technologists at CAFRE can help businesses by tailoring consumer panels to meet their requirements and can offer bespoke sensory training.

If you have any queries in relation to Sensory support then please do not hesitate to contact Claire.Heron@daera-ni.gov.uk