Sensory Testing

We have extensive experience establishing expert sensory testing panels throughout North Carolina.

Expertise in Establishing Sensory Panels

At Eastcoast Research, we pride ourselves on our proficiency in sensory testing within the market research industry, honing our skills through conducting numerous projects across diverse product categories and industries. This extensive experience equips us with the knowledge and insight needed to effectively design and execute sensory studies for your organization.

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Recruiting Qualified Participants

The success of market research largely hinges on the accurate qualification of participants. At Eastcoast Research, we employ a thorough process to identify ideal sensory panelists and establish screening protocols for their market research studies. Here’s how:

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Demographic Targeting

We consider factors such as age, gender, income level, geographic location, and other relevant demographics to ensure participants represent the intended market segment accurately.

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Allergy and Intolerance Screening

Participant safety and data integrity are paramount. We employ detailed questionnaires and interviews to identify any allergies or intolerances that might impact a participant’s ability to engage in sensory testing.

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Product Experience and Attitudes Assessment

We assess participants’ familiarity with the product or brand, as well as their general attitudes, preferences, and perceptions to ensure that participants have relevant context and genuine interest in providing feedback.

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Sensory Profiling

Eastcoast Research conducts sensory profiling to evaluate participants’ sensory acuity and preferences related to the product being tested.

Product Experience and Attitudes Assessment

Training panelists on the five senses—sight, smell, taste, touch, and hearing—is crucial for obtaining comprehensive and accurate feedback in sensory testing. At Eastcoast Research, we perform sensory acuity screenings for all panels to ensure panelists have sensory acumen. 

Sensory acuity screenings help sharpen panelists’ ability to perceive and differentiate sensory attributes of the product; allowing them to detect subtle differences in characteristics like flavor, aroma, texture, appearance, and sound, leading to more nuanced feedback. Other sensory tests, including those for taste and smell recognition and discrimination, visual-spatial recognition, and texture discrimination, can be used to verify panelist sensory acumen.

In addition to these processes, our team also performs periodic re-screenings to ensure panelists are still qualified for the panel and use the products as required by the client.

Sensory Panel Management

Central Location Testing

Eastcoast Research excels in conducting controlled environment testing with advanced facilities, expert environmental control, and standardized protocols. Our rigorous quality assurance measures ensure consistency and reliability in data collection, adhering to regulatory standards and offering customized solutions for diverse research needs.

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Home Use Testing

Our expertise also extends to home-based testing, where we excel in the meticulous planning and implementation of studies in participants’ homes. To ensure the reliability of data collection, we equip participants with standardized kits accompanied by clear instructions. Rigorous protocols, including remote monitoring and frequent communication, guarantee adherence to quality standards while maintaining participant safety and data integrity.

Sample Preparation

The integrity of sensory testing is heavily reliant on the preparation of samples, which must be free from contamination to ensure the accuracy and validity of research outcomes. Eastcoast Research adheres to stringent sterile techniques in sample preparation, utilizing controlled environments and sterile equipment to mitigate any risk of contamination. This ensures the collected samples remain pure and unaltered throughout the testing process.

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Randomized Sample Design

To minimize bias and enhance the generalizability of our findings, we implement a randomized sample design in our studies. By randomly allocating participants to treatment groups, we eliminate systematic differences, thereby increasing the statistical robustness and reliability of our research findings. This methodological rigor ensures that our results are both credible and applicable to a broader context.

Testing Protocols and Procedures

Eastcoast Research follows strict testing protocols and procedures dictated by clients’ specifications. With extensive experience in managing panels, we ensure compliance and confidentiality with rigorous guidelines—including IRB compliance when applicable. Our commitment to following client protocols guarantees reliable and accurate data collection, meeting the highest industry standards.

Panelists Monitoring

We have established robust monitoring techniques to track panelists’ performance throughout the testing process. This includes regular assessments of panelist engagement, attentiveness, and adherence to instructions. By implementing stringent monitoring protocols, we maintain the quality and reliability of the data collected, ultimately enhancing the integrity of our research outcomes.

Secure Product Handling and Inventory

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Results Collection

Eastcoast Research is proficient in utilizing a diverse array of data collection tools to capture panelists’ results accurately. From traditional paper-based surveys to sophisticated electronic systems, we employ methods tailored to the specific needs of each project, ensuring comprehensive data capture. 

Following results collection, our clients can conduct specialized analysis with the expertise of PhD-level scientists. These professionals possess the advanced knowledge and skills necessary to interpret complex data accurately and derive meaningful insights.

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