Our clients are interested in establishing a sensory panel but are facing budget constraints for constructing sensory test facilities. Furthermore, they have concerns about the impact of Covid-19 on sensory testing. These challenges have led some clients to abandon the development of sensory panels altogether.
An FMCG company wanted to conduct sensory testing to evaluate Japanese sensory panelists’ perceived performances of body care products. In addition, they wanted to build a trained sensory panel to periodically evaluate perceived product performances in the Japanese marketplace, where consumers closely pay attention to skin conditions.
No available sensory facilities and Covid-19 impacts
While trained sensory panels required sensory testing rooms to control testing conditions, the client did not have such a facility. Furthermore, Covid-19 required (and still requires) social distancing and remote working to avoid spreading viruses.
The Solution Approach
Sensory training and testing remotely
To tackle the challenge, we did everything remotely. In collaboration with recruiters, we recruited panelists who had high descriptive and product differentiation skills online. We ensured the panelists evaluated samples in the controlled conditions in their rooms and terminology development and descriptive scaling for the sensory training. Before the product testing, we confirmed their evaluations were repeatable and reproducible on both individuals and group-wises.
The sensory panel training and validations went smoothly thanks to the highly motivated and engaged panelists. As a result, the panel is now conducting regular sensory testing.