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Sensory Evaluation Capabilities

Sensory Science Program Text with WSU School of Food Science Text below it
The WSU Sensory Evaluation Facility is located on the Washington State University campus (Pullman WA) in the Food Science and Human Nutrition Building.  The sensory evaluation lab at Washington State University supports an active sensory evaluation program.

Our facilities include:

  • Fully functioning kitchen preparation area with ovens, water baths, refrigerators, and counter space.
  • 8 pass-through sensory analysis booths, each equipped with a lap top computer.  Each computer is installed with Compusense Cloud for sensory data collection from panelists.  Each computer is linked to a mainframe computer for data collection and analysis.
  • Sensory training room for descriptive analysis training session.
  • Capability to train panelists and conduct formal sensory evaluation on-site in individual booths.
  • Well equipped Food Processing Pilot Plant (email the pilot plant coordinator).
  • Well equipped WSU Creamery Pilot Plant (visit the WSU Creamery website).
  • In order to conduct research at the WSU Sensory Facilities, all potential studies must be approved by the WSU-Institutional Review Board to protect the rights and welfare of human subjects.

What types of sensory tests do we run?

A wide variety of tests can be conducted in our facility.  Specific testing and research opportunities may be developed and designed as needed by your company.  Specific types of tests include:

  • Consumer acceptance and preference:  We can determine the acceptance of your products using acceptance scales, willingness to purchase questions or preference questions.
  • Descriptive analysis: We can assemble a trained panel to evaluate appearance, aroma, flavour, taste, texture and mouthfeel attributes that are specific for your products.
  • Difference/Similarity tests: We can compare your products to determine overall differences (triangle, duo-trio, tetrad, difference from control) or probe specific difference in attributes.
  • Attribute diagnostic tests: We can examine your products for appropriateness of specific sensory attributes using just-about-right questions.
  • Threshold determination: We can determine the concentration of a flavour or taste compound that causes a change in perception.

What types of statistical analysis do we provide?

In addition to conducting the sensory evaluation testing, our sensory team is trained in appropriate sensory analysis methods.  These methods include:

  • Analysis of variance (including mean separation methods) for parametric data
  • Kruskal-Wallis for non-parametric data
  • Cochran’s Q for check all that apply data
  • Penalty Analysis and Chi Square for Just About Right questions,
  • Friedman’s Rank Sum for ranked data
  • Multivariate techniques, including Principal Component Analysis, Partial Least Squares, Internal and External Preference Mapping, Factor Analysis, Agglomerative Hierarchical clustering

Following the sensory panel, we will provide a detailed report of the sensory panel, including methods and analyzed results.