Sensory analysis laboratory works mainly on research projects concerning the quality of animal products (meat and cured meats, dairy products, fish) and, on specific requests, collaborates with organizations, companies or freelance professionals on different food products.
Some of the most common applications of sensory analysis allow to:
- Develop a new product with specific sensory characteristics
- Renew a food formulation
- Studying food shelf-life and packaging
- Verify the conformity of a product to the production standard
- Verify the prescriptions of the PDO / PGI / STG regulations or of the law
- Boost the sensory peculiarities that can be communicated to consumers
Different sensory methods are applied in the laboratory that are synthetically divided into three categories:
DISCRIMINANT TESTS applied to verify if there are perceivable similarities or differences between similar products (triangular test, UNI ISO 4120: 1987)
DESCRIPTIVE TESTS applied to describe and quantify the sensory characteristics of the food (QDA ISO 8586-1: 1993, ISO 8586-2: 1994, UNI ISO 3534-1: 2000). For this analysis it is necessary to select carefully and train 8-12 judges able to perceive the nuances in the products under examination. The panel must have a good sensory memory and give repeatable and reproducible evaluations.
AFFECTIVE TESTS applied to measure consumer’s acceptability and liking on products. These tests require the involvement of more than a hundred people and can be carried out either in the laboratory or in a "central location" properly prepared (fairs, supermarkets)
While maintaining the methodological approach, which provides reliability to the tests and objectivity to the results, it is possible to calibrate the questions addressed to consumers based on the objective sought.
The laboratory has participated in various public events to develop the awareness about the Sensory Analysis potentiality applied to research and to local production companies.
- Innovaction 2008 - sensory test about trout and smoked salmon
- Agriest 2010 - sensory test to evaluate beef pleasantness and sensory characteristics
- Researchers' Night 2011 - sensory test on different raw hams