August 12, 2019
by ISR

Looking for more from your Sensory Panels?

You’re probably familiar with our standing descriptive and discrimination panels (if not, click here), but did you know that we also offer semi-trained consumer panels and in-context panels? Lately, these panels are very much in demand as manufacturers seek deeper insights into product usage and experiences.

Here’s the 101 on these panels:

In-context Sensory Panels

  • These are sensory acute and articulate panelists
  • The ISR panel encompasses 20 panel members with a minimum of seven years’ experience
  • Trained to objectively evaluate attribute intensities without judging the product on liking (as opposed to consumer tests)
  • Able to complete sensory evaluations in context
  • Useful for receiving technical feedback as well as experiential feedback

Semi-trained Consumer Panels

  • These are high users of the category
  • Trained with protocol and lexicon instruction, utilizing terminology that is precise
  • Able to complete sensory evaluations in the lab or in context
  • Useful for obtaining emotional and experiential feedback and product guidance.

And for those companies who prefer to leverage their own sensory panels, we offer client-site panel recruiting, training, management and auditing services.  You can learn more here or just contact us!

July 10, 2019
by ISR

How to Use Sensory Research to Explore New Sweeteners

The future looks bright for Tate & Lyle’s low-calorie sugar, Allulose. “Ever since the FDA decided to exclude Tate & Lyle’s super low-calorie sugar, Allulose, from the total and added sugar declarations on the Nutrition Facts panel, manufacturers across categories have been clamoring to learn how the ingredient might help them meet growing consumer demand for lower-calorie and lower-sugar products.” (

At ISR, this is a common request from our clients. There’s a need to make an ingredient change – sometimes driven from a cost perspective, other times because the ingredient offers new marketing opportunities or responds to consumer demands — in any case, our clients are concerned about altering consumer perception of their product.

In these situations, we often use our temporal dominance of sensation technique and our standing sensory panel to help guide manufacturers as they pursue ingredient (or manufacturing) changes to the product.

In the case of Tate & Lyle’s new offering, Avishan Amanat, Director of ISR, states “Our TDS technique along with our Descriptive Analysis panel can actually help our clients better understand the influence of Allulose on sweetness level, as well as understand the impact on taste, flavor and aftertaste when used in combination with other sweeteners.”

You can see below how TDS was used in a recent mouthwash analysis.
Our client wanted to compare multiple sensations over time. We were able to identify which sensations appeared, when they appeared, and how long they lasted.

TDS can be used for virtually any product category!

June 25, 2019
by ISR

ESOMAR Client Summit

If you’re heading to the ESOMAR Client Summit in NYC this week, we’d love to catch up with you.  We’ll have a tabletop exhibit so please pop by to say hello!  Or, reach out and we’ll arrange a time for coffee or food!

If you can’t make it, but still want to get some info from us, then we recommend that you take a look at this Capabilities Summary or our Facility Spec Sheet.

June 11, 2019
by ISR

Category Appraisal: the Basics

Need to know how your product stacks up against the competition and why one product is preferred over another? Category appraisal can answer those questions.

Category Appraisal combines consumer product testing with detailed product characteristics from our descriptive panel.

It’s useful when consumers can tell us what they like or don’t like, but cannot articulate enough detail to guide product development.

Here’s how a typical Category Appraisal works:

At the end of the project:

  1. the products are benchmarked
  2. attributes that drive product liking are identified
  3. the sensory space is mapped
  4. market gaps are discovered
  5. product development guidance is provided

Here’s an example of how it worked for Happy’s Blueberry Nut Cereal:

Category Appraisal can be used for ALL product categories.

May 29, 2019
by ISR

Understanding Supertasters

Here’s an interesting article about supertasters and how their preferences in other food categories could be used to help them choose wines. While it’s truly a fun marketing approach – who wouldn’t want to discuss chocolate and coffee preferences over a glass of wine 😉 – we definitely would like to further explore this idea with some sensory research.

First up, we’d love to see further analysis on this subject matter with specific regard to demographics.  For example, we know that only about 25% of Caucasians are supertasters, and we actually do not have definitive data on other ethnicities and races in terms of supertasting abilities.

Further, we also know that about 25% of people are influenced by taste, but many more are influenced by social behavior and food trends.  That’s why scientific sensory research is so helpful with ingredient and manufacturing changes, because it isolates the taste variable and removes the impact of social behaviors.  On the other hand, understanding the many factors that go into brand selection is the purview of our sister company, Blueberry, whose focus on consumer sensory research can incorporate both the social and the physical aspects of the product selection. 

Another area of further investigation would be how the consumers’ age impacts brand selection.  Millennials, in particular, often are not loyal to brands, but rather are highly influenced by peers.

Sensory science aside, perhaps a winery tour is needed…you know, for research purposes!

Should brands be marketing to supertasters?

May 13, 2019
by ISR

Sensory 101

We sometimes hear from our clients that they know they should “do sensory research,” but they are not quite sure how it fits or what it does. So for those of you who are also wondering about it, here’s our Sensory 101.

What it does

Sensory research identifies the unique & compelling characteristics of the product. It also ensures that those attributes remain consistent and continue to deliver against consumer expectations.

How it’s used

  • Provides objective, data-driven assessment products
  • Uncovers how the product’s attributes are perceived
  • Identifies how to optimize the product for the desired usage experience
  • Ensures consistency throughout ingredient or manufacturing changes
  • Benchmarks against the competitive set

February 1, 2019
by ISR

Capabilities in Less than 100 Words!

A quick reminder about our capabilities:

  • Sensory research – flexible sensory research leveraging our own expert panels
  • Client-site sensory services – we recruit, train and manage your sensory panel
  • Exceptional facilities – 23 product testing booths, 12 sink booths, commercial test kitchens and abundant product prep space.
  • Global solutions – through our network of validated partners, we can standardize your global sensory research and provide one cohesive sensory research report.

Contact us for a competitive bid on your next project!


November 18, 2018
by ISR

Does Green Really Clean?

We recently explored how gender and color impact product perceptions for laundry detergent.

Interestingly, we discovered that the main effect was scent-related but that there was a two-way interaction between gender and color.  Although women’s attitudes were not different from men’s for the clear or blue detergent, they were more negative than those of men for the green detergent.

Click below to enlarge.


COVID-19 Operations Update
We are operating as usual, with our sensory panel conducting sensory training and research remotely. Please contact us to discuss your specific needs. We hope you and yours are safe and well.