SensUp®: Regular Consumers become Sensory Experts with SensUp®
Finest measurement of product properties
SensUp® is a special measurement method for the perception of sensations. It is suitable for all products that have sensory properties whose manifestations are very difficult to recognize or evaluate for regular consumers with traditional test methods. With SensUp® normal users get the opportunity to express and evaluate fine differences.
Compared to traditional product testing SensUp® distinguishes itself through two key benefits, which provide detailed and actionable results. First, each product feature is measured true-to-scale, i.e. through the use of the magnitude scale (an individual, open upward scale) a scaled measurement of product differences is possible, because the scale range is always sufficient and the test person can grade her judgment very finely – i.e. also very minor product differences are revealed.
The second advantage is the multidimensional expression of strength and liking of a sensory feature: through the combined evaluation of sensory strength and liking you will learn to what extent a particular sensory characteristic is present (and recognized) and also whether its strength is accepted or liked or not liked
Conventional scales can display differences only in a limited way
The problem of conventional scales becomes apparent when several products that have delicate, but crucial differences, have to be evaluated. Let’s assume we want to compare the spiciness of three products. The respondent evaluates product 1 as “very spicy”. Consequently, he or she gives a “7” on a conventional 7-point scale.
Thereafter the respondents tries product 2 which is perceived clearly “spicier” than product 1. What value will the respondent choose? Usually a “7” will be selected once again. Finally follows product 3. Is it only “slightly less spicy” than product 2 but “spicier” than product 1, i.e. the spiciness of product 3 lies between product 1 and 2. Which value will the respondent choose? Here, too, the value “7” is frequently chosen.
Therefore the perception of product differences is only inaccurately evaluated. Thus product developers receive only insufficient information for formulation development and product optimization.
The Magnitude Estimation Scale (MES) makes differences visible
With the Sensup® method there are no limits to the scale values. Each consumer chooses his or her individual scale – with a zero point, and no upward limit! Thus he can give second product a value twice as high as the first product. And he can give the third product a value only slightly lower than the second product. Thus, the differences not only become visible, but are evaluated in correct ration to each other.
Expressed in numbers:
The 3 products are evaluated in regards to a specific property (e.g. spiciness):
- Product 2 is somewhat spicier than product 1
- Product 3 is three times spicier than product 2
Only the MES-scale shows these differences in the correct ratio!
Identification of Decisive Product Features
But the analysis of the results not only considers the evaluations of individual sensory product properties. In addition, the product characteristics for a positive overall impression are identified. This is done by a driver analysis (penalty reward analysis), that is calculated in dependence on overall liking.
Comparison to the Ideal Product
The highly differentiated measuring technology of Sensup® not only reveals strength and acceptance of product characteristics in comparison to other products (for example, from competitors). Also, the respondents are asked to rate the tested products in relation to their personal ideal product of the category. This benchmarking gives valuable information for the profitable optimization of your product.
Typical Areas of Application
The Sensup® method is ideal for the (re-) development and optimization of products with sensory characteristics (smell, taste, feel, look, hear). For benchmarking or comparisons with competitor products SensUp® provides precise instructions for profitable improvements of the recipe. Also, the brand influence can be measured by comparing the results of two test cells with and without brand influence (blind test). Recipe modifications can result in cost savings (such as when replacing ingredients) and in economization.