Sensory Research in Action: Category Appraisal for Salsa

Our client wanted to understand product deficiencies (identified in a prior study) for their salsa product versus key competitors. Four prototypes were developed to address these deficiencies and push out the sensory space. Because the competitive set is so diverse, we also wanted to achieve a holistic understanding of the entire category.

We used Category Appraisal to address this challenge. Category Appraisal combines consumer product testing with detailed product characteristics (from a descriptive panel), providing actionable results for product developers.

Why use Category Appraisal?

While consumers can tell us what they like and don’t like, it is often difficult for them to articulate enough detail to guide product development. Category appraisal addresses these limitations through the use of a trained sensory panel.

What We Did

What We Learned

We identified the key drivers of liking (positive and negative) by consumer preference segments, and the sensory attributes that differentiate the salsas. We also mapped the sensory space to identify which attributes explain half of sensory differences across the products

Through our research, we learned that none of the Prototypes achieves significantly higher Overall Liking (mean) over Control; however, Prototypes 1 and 2 performs at parity to Control on liking.

Other key learning include:

  • Prototype 1 is more well-liked than Competitors W and G.
  • Prototype 2 is parity to Competitors W and G.
  • Prototype 1has no major deficiencies while the competition have several key areas in which to improve their flavor profiles.

To view the complete case study, click here.

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