Appearance, odour, flavour and texture are extremely important for the enjoyment of foods. Sensory evaluation
is a scientific method of assessing the eating quality of food under controlled conditions.
Sensory evaluation is undertaken for the purposes of:
- looking at ways to improve the quality of food.
- identification of production factors important for eating quality.
- product development, problem solving and prevention of off-flavours.
- management of quality by understanding factors affecting it and consumer requirements.
- training industry personnel to assess eating quality.
Examples of Sensory investigations undertaken include:
- Chicken: e.g. effect of production factors, high pressure processing on eating quality.
- Beef, pork: e.g. effect of bull versus steer, breed, age and welfare of animal.
- Milk and Dairy Products: e.g. identification of off-flavours, spreadability of butter.
- Lamb: e.g. production flavours, varying salt levels for preservation in hot countries.
- Salmon: e.g. influence of wild versus farmed and sea versus river.
- Potatoes: effect of variety attributes most important for acceptability to consumers e.g. fertilizer, location.