Food sensory analysis is a growing and highly effective tool that food companies use to bring a product to market and to establish market value. The choice of foods is so wide that the appeal must connect with all of the senses. The amount of feedback that can come when looking at this data provides invaluable insight on whether or not someone will become a future customer, and even more importantly, a repeat customer.

Why Food Sensory Analysis?

In a global market, brands also have to appeal to a wider audience. And besides tasting delicious, food needs to get high marks on visual appeal, aroma, and texture. There’s no doubt that if something doesn’t taste good, it’s never going to make it into a customer’s pantry or refrigerator for a second time, but read below to see how the other senses play into food sensory analysis.

Visual Appeal

There’s an old saying that suggests we eat with our eyes first. How something looks on the plate or on the packaging often determines whether a customer makes that first purchase or repeat purchases. Color is often the first indicator of freshness. Are the colors authentic of nature? Have dyes been added with too heavy a hand? Is the product familiar in size and shape? People have to be led gently into change, and something that looks different can send negative vibes. Even uncooked foods can give a sneak peek of its likely taste. The flakes of biscuits, for example, are visible prior to baking. Visual appeal is one of the most important aspects of our senses interacting with prospective foods.


Think about a child who sniffs at something and then hands it back to their mother. Adults are not much different – if it doesn’t smell good, no one is going to want to taste it. Does the fruit smell fresh? Ripe? Which coffee beans smell richer? Dark chocolate may taste too bitter or not bitter enough. Adding sea salt to the chocolate bar may add another dimension that ranks it higher than another bar or the same bar with no salt added. In some items, the aroma can be just as important as taste: popcorn, coffee, and gingerbread, for example. In these and others, a nose knows!

Texture & Sound

How does it feel? And not only how does it feel in the mouth, but if it’s a hand-held food, how does it feel while holding it? Some foods are expected to be smooth and silky, like ice cream or peanut butter. Celery should snap and feel crisp. Carrots and potato chips have distinctive crunches our ears listen for. The sizzle of fajitas gets us ready for an enjoyable meal experience.


The food industry is one of the most competitive in the world. Shelf space is limited, and consumers want to find items they trust again and again. Using food sensory analysis, scientists and researchers gain opinions and recommendations from those who matter most – the person at the checkout line or the person entering a particular restaurant.