Descriptive Analysis for Product Improvements

One area that sensory research can help with is in understanding and quantifying product enhancements. In this case study, our client, a consumer healthcare manufacturer, wanted to improve the swallow-ability of one of its pills.


Our client wanted to renovate its Pill A Triple Strength base business by applying an easy swallow coating to all Triple Strength tablets. Difficulty in swallowing the pills is one of the top consumer complaints on the Pill A business, due to the large pill size of Triple Strength. A new coating technology allows for an easier to swallow application and an overall enhanced consumer experience. A flag will be included on front panel for about six months either referring to “New! Easy Swallow Coating” or “New! Easier to Swallow Coating”.


The primary objective of this study is to understand if the new slip coating on Pill A Triple Strength makes the pills easier to swallow when compared to the Current Pill (A).


Our trained panelists participated in the Descriptive Analysis methodology. We looked at 5 key attributes that defined the experience of swallowing, and a t-test analysis at 95% confidence level was used to compare the Control to the Coated Prototype for each tablet size: 

  • Surface Shine (None/Matte-High)
  • Off-note Intensity (None-High)
  • Slipperiness in the mouth (None-High)
  • Stickiness in the mouth (None-High)
  • Effort to Swallow (Easy- Difficult)


Our research determined that the new coating technology contributed to significant ease of swallowing of the pill. The New Slip Coated Prototype is significantly easier to swallow than the Control. Additionally, the coating provided a slippery smooth experience in the mouth and lowered off-note intensity. Here’s an example of the data we presented:

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