Consumer Testing Panels

With consumer research panels and product test panels, NCSU Sensory Service Center will get you comprehensive feedback on your product to aid in flavor improvement and to assist you in maximizing potential within your product category.

The experts at the Sensory Service Center have over 10 years of experience developing and conducting Consumer Food Tasting Panels and Focus Groups for foods, beverages, and packaging. If you are interested in market segmentation, placement and related services for market modifications or new product development, see our Market Testing Services.

We recruit for our adult and children taste tests through an online database of over 10,000 consumers in the Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill area. 11 satellite databases in cities throughout the US with over 900 consumers each are also available for your online survey needs.

Our lab also has experience product testing with children. We have conducted taste tests for children ages 4 – 13yrs old on a variety of products including yogurt, kid’s juice drinks, and chocolate milk.

Experience with…

Foods

  • whole and deli sliced turkeys and hams
  • sweeteners
  • cheese
  • gravy
  • biscuits
  • breads
  • yogurt
  • canned beans
  • bacon
  • ice cream
  • microwave entrees

Beverages

  • whey protein
  • smoothies
  • juice
  • carbonated drinks
  • wines and spirits
  • mixed alcoholic beverages

Non-food Products

  • wine corks
  • frozen foods packaging
  • plastic containers
  • nicotine gum

And many others! We are flexible and willing to work to meet your individual needs. If you don’t see what you’re looking for here, don’t hesitate to contact us and let us know how we can help.

Our Process

When you contact us for testing we will begin the process by:

  • Helping you outline your test objective and select the appropriate sensory test to meet your objective.
  • Based upon this conversation we will design a testing ballot and consumer recruitment screener for your approval.
    • If testing is to be administered in survey format, we will launch it to our database for our recruited members to complete.
    • If testing is to be administered in a live food tasting format, we will handle all the logistics and conduct testing in our facilities. (We can also coordinate food tastings elsewhere within the Raleigh-Durham, NC area.)
  • Our staff, with your guidance, will test prepare all food materials and present the most appropriate preparation directions and presentation method for your product.

Our sensory team is highly trained in an array of sensory statistics, methods and techniques, including:

  • ANOVA, Penalty Analysis and Chi Square for Just About Right questions, Kruskal-Wallis for non-parametric scales, Friedman’s Rank Sum, and Overall Preference
  • Multivariate techniques including Principal Component Analysis, Partial Least Squares, Internal and External Preference Mapping, Projective Mapping, Factor Analysis, k- means clustering, and Agglomerative Hierarchical clustering

After testing is complete we will provide you with:

  • A brief topline report within 48 hrs of test completion
  • A detailed full report with methods, results, and discussion within 10 business days
  • We can provide data visualizations and custom reporting options (including PowerPoint presentations) to support you in immediate team briefing, client sharing, or executive review