Descriptive Analysis 

Descriptive Analysis provides a thorough evaluation of a product's unique attributes by a team of experienced experts. They use characteristic descriptors and reference samples to assess visual appeal, aroma, flavor, and mouthfeel/texture. Qualitative descriptors are listed to create a lexicon, accompanied by quantitative ratings of intensity for each attribute. 

Use Cases of Descriptive Analysis

Descriptive Analysis supports product development challenges by uncovering insights and enabling informed decisions. It helps businesses understand consumer preferences, identify market trends, and optimize features and functionalities, ensuring successful product innovation and staying ahead in today's dynamic market.

Determining Drivers of Liking

Often, it is helpful to understand what attributes of a product are the most important in driving the consumer acceptability of the product. Is it an award-winning creamy texture? Is it just the right amount of spice? We can use descriptive analysis and consumer panel data to highlight these key attributes.

Various products in a given category are submitted for consumer liking panels and descriptive analysis (i.e., 20 different brands of teriyaki beef jerky).

Each product is profiled using a descriptive analysis, and that data is correlated with each product’s consumer acceptability scores. This determines which of the attributes results in the most acceptable product. Thus, product developers can tweak formulations to fit the winning profile.

Developing Product Quality Specifications

All product specifications should contain a detailed description of the gold standard product. In the best instance, how does the perfect product look, smell, taste, and feel?

Descriptive analysis should be used to create this granular description of the gold standard. Descriptive analysis should also be used to evaluate versions of the product that are not perfect yet are still within specification.

Evaluating these samples helps create an acceptable range of ratings for each attribute to complete the specification.

Product Matching

The key to successful product matching lies in understanding the target product deeply. It is crucial to carefully note every aspect of the target product with their respective intensities. Additionally, evaluating the closest prototype(s) is essential. By comparing their descriptors and intensities, one can quickly identify which attributes need adjustments and to what extent.

Shelf Life Studies

Utilizing descriptive analysis, one can closely monitor the gradual shifts in product qualities as time progresses. By employing a trained panel, factors such as appearance, aroma, flavor, and texture can be meticulously measured and tracked throughout the entire shelf life of a product. This lets us pinpoint the exact moment the product loses its exceptional quality. 


Descriptive Evaluation Methods

Mérieux NutriSciences uses the Spectrum™ methodology for descriptive analysis. Our panelists have undergone over 100 hours of training and must have shown proficiency in flavor and texture/mouthfeel evaluations. To achieve “expert panel” status in Spectrum™, panelists must demonstrate that they can use a concrete list of descriptors based on an understanding of the underlying technical differences among the attributes of a product. Descriptors are developed by first evaluating a broad array of the product category. This aligns panelists to the breadth of variety in a category so they can capture all relevant descriptors. Additional descriptors may be added to the lexicon by the panel leader at the client's request or taken from peer-reviewed literature or published lexicons.  

Once a comprehensive lexicon has been established, panelists rate the intensity of each descriptor for each sample on a 150-point scale. Samples are evaluated in duplicate or triplicate, creating replicates in a robust data set. An Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) can then identify sample differences. If differences exist within a set of samples, a subsequent mean separation post hoc analysis is done.  

Contact us today to learn more about our Descriptive Analysis services.

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