Compusense

2014 conference season in full swing for Compusense

Jessica Anselmini

Well, it’s that time of year again. Our frigid Canadian weather is finally starting to cut us a break, the sun is beginning to peek out from behind the clouds and the birds are beginning to chirp. This can only mean one thing for the Compusense team: conference season is upon us.

Each year, as spring approaches, we start to gear up for a very exciting (and busy!) time of year with multiple food science and sensory events. 2014 is particularly busy for Compusense, as we jet set to eight cities and four countries to meet hundreds of peers, colleagues, clients and friends—old and new. We also use conference season as an opportunity to host Compusense Trainings and Users’ Groups, allowing our global clients a chance to experience hands-on instruction and interactive demonstrations lead by our Support Team members.

Compusense Training

Manager of Client Services, Jaqueline Dysart, conducts an info-packed Compusense Training

This year we were lucky enough to kick off conference season in our own backyard with ASTM’s Meeting of Committee E18 Sensory Evaluation in Toronto from April 7-10, 2014. On April 9, Dr. Chris Findlay chaired the Sensory Quality Workshop. Dr. George Soleas, Executive Vice President, LCBO, kicked off the workshop with a discussion on Sensory Quality. Following Dr. Soleas’ presentation, attendees broke out into two groups. They rotated through two stations: a tour of LCBO’s Quality Assurance Laboratory and a hands-on Sensory QC workshop. The latter involved a comparison of Triangle vs. Tetrad test methods and a Difference from Control (DFC) training and evaluation (Dr. Chris Findlay) using chocolate pudding!

In May, members of the team are packing their suitcases and heading to Singapore for Elsevier’s inaugural SenseAsia conference from May 11-13. Asia is a vibrant and emerging market in the food science and sensory industry and we are delighted to be a part of SenseAsia’s inception. Compusense’s Michael Plater Findlay will present his poster “Interpreting sequential profiling data via animated box-and-whisker plots”, building on the work that we presented at the Pangborn Symposium in Rio this past August. This will also be a great opportunity for the team to visit some of our Singapore-based clients, one-on-one, and see their facilities first-hand.

Following Singapore, we’ll be travelling to the ever-vibrant city of New Orleans, LA to attend and exhibit at the 2014 IFT Annual Meeting and Food Expo from June 21-24. Be sure to swing by booth 5141 and say hello to the team… just look for red! In addition to attending IFT, we’ll also be taking advantage of multiple clients being in town to host an info-packed two-day Compusense at-hand or Compusese five Training just prior to the conference on June 19th and 20th.

Miranda

Support Specialist, Miranda Robb, demonstrates Compusense at-hand’s versatility on the iPad!

As the summer heats up, we head to Chicago for the 12th Sensometric Meeting from July 29-August 31st. Compusense’s John Castura will co-host a Check-all-that-apply (CATA) questions tutorial and Dr. Chris Findlay, along with Ryan Brown and Paul McNicholas, will host a tutorial on the role of Imputation in clustering BIB Data.

In August we’ll be back on our home turf to attend and exhibit at IUFoST in Montreal from August 18-21 of which Compusense is a proud gold sponsor.

Finally, as summer starts to wind down, we’ll begin to wrap up the conference season with EuroSense 2014: A Sense of Life in Copenhagen, Denmark From September 7-10, the 5th World Distilled Spirits Conference in Glasgow, Scotland from Sept 8-11 and the Society of Sensory Professionals 2014 Conference in Tucson, AZ from Sept 17-19. At WDSC Chris will present his poster, “Feedback Calibration Training improves Whiskey Sensory Profiling and at SSP, his presentation “Combining highly efficient methods can reduce costs without compromise”.  Compusense Trainings and Users’ Groups are also planned for both Copenhagen and Tucson.

We have a busy six months ahead, but we couldn’t be more excited. Attending conferences, meetings, symposia and expos allow us to share our research, learn from our peers and connect with others that have the same passion for sensory science as we do… and have a bit of fun while we’re at it!

If you plan to attend any of these conference or meetings, be sure to let us know; we’d love to see you there! If you would like any further information about any of the mentioned conferences, presented materials or our software trainings, please contact us at info@compusense.com.

Building better business on a foundation of trust: SOC 3 Reporting

Jessica Anselmini

Compusense is proud to say that we provide our software and services to some of the world’s leading food, beverage and consumer packaged goods companies. The protection of client and panelist information is a top priority for us, and we are committed to going above and beyond to deliver the utmost discretion and data security in our Software as a Service (SaaS) offering, Compusense at-hand. In the last year alone we have:

  • Migrated to a new and highly secure Data Centre facility, PEER1
  • Continued to enhance our application and network security through regular penetration testing and security assessments
  • And most recently, we have completed an external audit with Ernst & Young to produce a Service Organizational Controls (SOC) 3 report based on the Trust Services Security principles and criteria­

Trust is one of the most (if not the most) important elements in a successful relationship between companies and service organizations (or in any relationship for that matter!). The relationships we hold with our clients are one of our most valuable assets. Maintaining and strengthening these relationships with honesty, transparency and receptiveness are important keys to our continued success. A critical area of focus for our clients is about security and data protection and our priority is to provide the utmost assurance and confidence that they are protected.

Software as a Service is growing in popularity; only Compusense is offering this elevated level of assurance for sensory and consumer testing. Over the last year we have been working with Ernst and Young to conduct an external audit to meet the requirements to produce a SOC 3 report.

What exactly is a SOC 3 Report?

The Internet can be a risky place, especially when it comes to sensitive and confidential information. Organizations such as e-commerce sites, web-hosting services, Data Centres and Software as a Service (SaaS) providers, such as Compusense, need to provide their users with the assurance that their information is protected. Because of the risks involved with communicating sensitive data over the Internet, adhering to principles of best practices and standards greatly reduces the risk of fraudulent activity and provides confidence to clients and customers.

SOC 3 Seal

There are three types of Service Organization Control (SOC) reports and are prepared using the AICPA (American Institute of Professional Accountants) and the CPA (Chartered Professions Accountants) of Canada accounting standards. The three types of SOC reports: SOC 1, SOC 2 and SOC 3, are all prepared to meet specific reporting needs for organizations. For our purposes, Compusense has undergone auditing to produce a SOC 3 report. It is based on the Trust Service Principles, which are based upon SysTrust and WebTrust audits.

The process of completing the SOC 3 audit was not an easy, quick or inexpensive task. Compusense engaged Ernst & Young as independent accountants to conduct our audit, and we have dedicated a considerable amount of time and resources to achieving our certification. But in all truth, none of these costs outweigh the importance to providing our clients and panelists with the reassurance that their sensitive and private information is protected and secure.

Smart questions, good discussions and great company: Compusense hosts UK Training and Users’ Group

Jessica Anselmini

For 28 years we have continued to grow and extend our client reach to every corner of the globe. From Los Angeles, California, Cape Town, South Africa, Beijing, China to Mumbai, India, we are pleased to say our global breadth is extensive and ever expanding. Although, our reach does not impede our ability to provide the same exceptional client service and support to our international customers half way around the world as we provide to our more local clients.

In a world of emails, text messages and video conferencing the value of face-to-face meetings and personal relationships building offline can sometimes get lost in the noise. Hosting on-site Training and Users’ Groups, attending conferences and our continued affiliation with various sensory and consumer research, conferences, committees and meetings from the beginning, we have always recognized the value in building meaningful relationships with our clients and peer groups.

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Manager of Sales, Mark Laird, demonstrates Compusense at-hand’s newest feature: Scheduling

Last month, five members of our team, Michael Plater Findlay, VP, Business Development, Jacqueline Dysart, Manager, Client Service, Mark Laird, Manager, Sales, Tiffany Redwood, Support Specialist and Compusense Chairman, Dr. Chris Findlay, traveled to the stormy UK. Along with our European Representative, Neil Patel, the team, despite the less-than-ideal weather conditions, paid a visit to multiple UK-based clients and also hosted an engaging Compusense at-hand Training and User’ Group.

Held at the Learning Tree facilities, right next to Euston Station in London, our Training and Users’ Group days were very well-attended. The venue provided a great forum for longstanding and new clients to learn, share their experiences in sensory and consumer testing, and to explore new functionality in Compusense at-hand.

As we have in past Users’ Groups, our scenario was focused on a specific product and the kinds of testing that would be applicable to its business case. This time, our model product was sunscreen. Along with some more consumer-focused testing scenarios, we explored some temporal testing methods with the experience of applying sunscreen. We’ve never enjoyed TDS testing as much as we have when evaluating some very odiferous skin care products! Fortunately, Compusense’s own consumer panelists were able to provide us a wealth of data for use in our Users’ Group, which helped us tell the story of four very different products.

Compusense Training image 1

Support Specialist, Tiffany Redwood, does her best Vanna White impersonation while showing some of our newest features and functionalities

While we certainly had a great time working through our Users’ Group material, we also enjoyed the chats afterwards, where clients asked us all manner of questions, ranging from methods to panel management. We’re looking forward to holding more events this year, so look to our (soon to be renovated) web site, Twitter account and LinkedIn page for more details and updates.

Compusense undergoes some exciting renovations

Jessica Anselmini

1986 was a year to remember. Ferris Bueller took a day off, we were walking like Egyptians, stores couldn’t keep Cabbage Patch Kids on the shelf and Dr. Chris Findlay, after 20 years of industry, research and academic experience, founded Compusense Inc. As our taste in music and movies has evolved (hopefully), the last 27 years has seen Compusense evolve and grow into what we are today, a leading figure in the sensory science and consumer research industry with an esteemed client list, dozens of published papers and numerous invaluable collaborative relationships.

As we look forward to 2014, this past year has proven to be another memorable one for Compusense. We have recently moved into a brand new facility, allowing us to accommodate our expanding client base, growing Compusense team and more sensory and consumer panels. In addition to our exciting move, as of today, we have officially launched the new Compusense logo.

But before we delve into these new and exciting changes, let’s take a moment to look back at the evolution of the Compusense logo over the last 27 years.

 

Our new logo, skillfully designed by our friends at Quarry Communications, is comprised of five curved elements representing the five senses. Each piece effortlessly comes together to produce a mirrored ‘C’ formation in our distinctive Compusense red.

In addition to our new logo, we have also recently undergone another very exciting change. After 10 years at our previous location, we have just moved to a brand new facility located at 255 Speedvale Avenue West, Guelph Ontario, Canada. The surge of energy that has come along with our new space is undeniable. There is a buzz of excitement in the air with the anticipation of what’s to come in our new home.

Our new facility is much larger, in a convenient location for panelist access and has been entirely custom-designed to suit our unique requirements. Our sensory lab space, located on the first floor, has almost tripled, allowing much more space for our sensory team to conduct our growing number of consumer and sensory panels.

Sensory Area

The second floor, which accommodates our Client Services, Development and Operations teams, is a space that was designed and built to suit our client support needs and a space to research, develop, create and share new ideas.

Compusense Office  Office2  Office 3

2013 marks the beginning of a new era for Compusense in many ways. While our recent changes may appear to be external transformations, these changes are truly symbolic of our continued growth and development. However, from the beginning, one thing that has remained the same is our dedication to providing our clients with superior sensory evaluation software and services. Our revamped look and new facility demonstrates our continued commitment to product development, sensory research, collaboration and growth, making 2014 and beyond exciting years ahead.

Produce superior results with panelist training with half the time and cost

Jessica Anselmini

Many of our clients use trained panels for Descriptive Analysis testing. Descriptive Analysis (DA) is a sensory technique that uses trained panels to evaluate product attributes on scales of perceived intensity (Lawless & Heymann, 1998) and it is one of the most powerful and valuable tools in sensory science. Although, we have found that some sensory professionals tend to shy away from Descriptive Analysis Testing on the assumption that traditional DA training is costly and time consuming. With Compusense’s Feedback Calibration Method (FCM™), training descriptive panels can be surprisingly cost and time-efficient while producing repeatable and reliable results that are higher quality in comparison to non-calibrated DA tests.

What is FCM™

Panelists receive immediate feedback comparing their response to the target range

FCM™, as a calibration technique, was developed by Compusense Chairman, Chris Findlay, PhD, et al (2006) and uses immediate feedback in line scales to train descriptive sensory panelists rapidly and reliably. As panelists complete a set of line scales, they receive immediate feedback, comparing their scores with the established range values set for each product attribute. Panelists are making immediate associations with each stimulus. The feedback is immediate, true and accurate, allowing panelists to see where they evaluated the sample compared to the established range, so the next time they receive that sample, their response will be more centred, or calibrated, to the target range. Panelists are also limited to five attributes per set, which helps to avoid fatigue and exhaustion and doesn’t overload their learning capacity.

What are the benefits of FCM to my company?

FCM has shown to produce higher, more reliable results in half the time and half the cost. Due to the efficiency of training and speed of panelist learning, we have seen training time reductions of 50 per cent. Where traditional descriptive analysis training, for example, may take 45 hours of paid panelist training, with FCM this is reduced to 22 hours. (Findlay et al, 2006) This reduction in training time also translates to a potential 50 per cent reduction of cost and resources. Better still, even with a significant time and cost reduction, FCM produces reliable and repeatable results. In addition, FCM permits re-training and panelist calibration in as little as two 2-hour sessions. Calibration makes shelf life testing effective and reliable and provides a benchmark for interlaboratory training and testing.

FCMblog2How does FCM™ Compare to traditional DA training?

In traditional descriptive analysis training, panelists receive a sample and submit their response. Following the training session, some time later, the panel leader provides feedback to the entire group. This feedback is not immediate or specific and after tasting multiple samples, it is very difficult for panelists to recall each sample and their responses. With FCM, there is no doubt, confusion or time delay.

How does it work? What’s the science?

So, how does feedback relate to learning? There is a physiological response that takes place in the brain when you receive feedback. Dr. Gregory Ashby of University of California, Santa Barbara, has conducted much research surrounding Implicit Category Learning. His work demonstrates that Implicit (Information-Integration) learning requires associating a response goal with a stimulus. Although, the timing in which the respondent receives feedback must be precise. Evidence suggests that response strengthening happens within the first two to three seconds following the stimulus to ensure learning has taken place. During this short period of time, dopamine (the feel-good hormone) reinforces the learning effect at the appropriate synapse, consequently strengthening the learning (Ashby & Casale, 2003). In addition to implicit learning, FCM also utilizes the science behind intermittent reinforcement, where panelists do not receive feedback for every attribute they evaluate. This designed feedback greatly reduces invalid feedback due to guessing while further strengthening the learning process.

Conclusion

FCM is a valuable tool that can be utilized by both Compusense at-hand and Compusense five software clients. It is a valuable instrument that can be used in conjunction with traditional DA training methods to produce high-quality and useful data and results while helping to reduce time and costs.

If you would like more information on how you and your team can utilize FCM, please contact our Client Services Team at support@compusense.com.

References

Ashby, F. G., & Casale, M. B. (2003). The cognitive neuroscience of implicit category learning In L. Jiménez (Ed.), Attention and Implicit Learning (pp. 109-141). Retrieved from https://labs.psych.ucsb.edu/ashby/gregory/implicit.pdf

Findlay, C., Castura, J. C., & Lesschaeve, I. (2006). Feedback calibration: A training method for descriptive panels. Food Quality and Preference, 18(2), 321-328. doi: http://compusense.com/pdf/Feedback_calibration.pdf

Findlay, C., Castura, J. C., Schlich, P., & Lesschaeve, I. (2006). Use of feedback calibration to reduce the training time for wine panels. Food Quality and Preference, 17(3-4), 266-276. doi: http://compusense.com/pdf/Use_of_feedback_calibration.pdf

Lawless, H. T., & Heymann, H. (1998). Sensory Evaluation of Food: Principles and Practices. Toronto: Chapman & Hall.

Compusense presents its first Academic Consortium plaque at SAAFoST

Jessica Anselmini
Compusense Chairman, Chris Findlay, presents the first  Compusense at-hand Academic Consortium plaque to University of Pretoria Associate Professor, Riette de Kock, and members of her team at the SAAFoST Congress in Pretoria, South Africa

Compusense Chairman, Chris Findlay, presents the first Compusense at-hand Academic Consortium plaque to University of Pretoria Associate Professor, Riette de Kock, and members of her team at the SAAFoST Congress in Pretoria, South Africa

Earlier this month Compusense chairman, Chris Findlay, and President, Karen Phipps paid a visit to Pretoria, South Africa to attend at the 20th SAAFoST Biennial International Congress and Exhibition. Although quite the journey from Guelph, Ontario, Canada, SAAFoST is an exhibition that Compusense always looks forward to. The congress is a hub of brilliant minds, new ideas and the birth of new collaboration – and 2013 was no exception. This particular visit to SAAFoST was especially noteworthy, as Chris and Karen had the privilege to present the University of Pretoria with Compusense’s first ever Compusense at-hand Academic Consortium plaque. Riette de Kock, Associate Professor for the Department of Food Science was in attendance to accept the plaque.

Compusense has an on-going commitment to advancing sensory and consumer science, especially in the academic space. In  2012 we launched our Compusense at-hand Academic Consortium, specially established for Universities. As consortium members, Universities enjoy a special subscription of our Compusense at-hand SaaS software, which allows for off-site testing, compatibility with mobile devices (including iPads and Android devices) and offers an excellent avenue to further develop collaborative relationships between researchers.

The University of Pretoria was our very first consortium member, joining in late 2012. Compusense has since welcomed Sheffield Hallam University, Cornell University, Kansas State University and Ohio State University as Academic Consortium members. We have seen huge success and received highly positive feedback from our members and we hope to see membership grow even further in the coming year.

Compusense’s participation in meetings such as SAAFoST is an illustration of our commitment to collaboration and involvement in the sensory and consumer research space. We are more than a software provider; we are researchers, with a growing list of publications and presentations. Being fully immersed and informed of the growing body of research, development and best practices in the sensory community, allows us to continue developing a premium sensory software product.

If you would like more information on the Compusense at-hand Academic Consortium, please feel free to contact us at info@compusense.com.

Kicking ideas around at Pangborn 2013

John
Ipanema

Beach in Ipanema (Photo Source)

The 10th Pangborn Sensory Science Symposium was held in Rio de Janeiro this August. It’s a city that I’ve long wanted to visit, probably since first watching the film Black Orpheus. (City of God, which I saw much later, did not have the same effect.) I was mostly absorbed in conference activities during my visit, but had the opportunity to take a few hours here and there to check out the city.

I visited the beach in Ipanema (no girl) and the Hippie Fair (worth the trip just to see this guy imitating Pelé). The view from the Vista Chinesa was great, but Tijuca Forest was devoid of visible wildlife when I was there. Not sure whether to blame it on winter or noise from the jeeps (or whether just to blame it on Rio). Rio is a city of contrasts, and, as with the rest of Brazil, has wide gaps between rich and poor, in spite of recent improvements.

So perhaps it is fitting that several presenters touched on social responsibility and ethics at the conference. Guillermo Hough gave a wonderful keynote on food acceptability in low-income populations and problems with obesity that accompany food insecurity. Jérôme Jallat discussed how Firmenich is working to understand customer preferences at the top and bottom of the economic pyramid in India, taking care to show how local partners were involved and benefited from the relationship. Sara Jaeger‘s presentation, What is consumer research?, inspired us to do more to improve quality of life for everyone using the tools of consumer research. The need for both ethical behaviour and consumer understanding were common threads that connected these and other presentations. Consumer understanding comes from research, which could help to untangle health problems with have complex interwoven causes.

With that in mind, let me commend the speakers who raised such issues, and also Sara Jaeger and Gastón Ares, who chaired a very successful Check-all-that-apply (CATA) workshop on the final morning of the conference. Michael Meyners and I recently reviewed the use of CATA questions in sensory and consumer testing for a book chapter to appear in Novel Techniques in Sensory Characterization and Consumer Profiling (forthcoming), and many of the research questions that Michael and I raise in the book chapter are already being investigated. I must say how impressed I was with the workshop speakers, each of whom presented new and relevant research. It was a great showcase of recent developments in CATA, and the panel discussion at the end of the workshop raised many interesting points.

My workshop presentation, on the topic of analysis of CATA data, was based on the recent Food Quality and Preference publication, Existing and new approaches for the analysis of CATA data, by Michael Meyners, Tom Carr, and myself. We demonstrate that quite a lot of information can be gleaned from CATA data using statistically well-grounded approaches. With these methods, we can determine whether products are different, characterize products, understand attributes correlation, know what drives consumer liking, and prioritize reformulation efforts.

The conference was well organized and filled with good discussions. The weather was not always fantastic, but still quite pleasant considering that it was winter! In fact it was still warm enough to swim in the ocean on two out of the six evenings that I was there. Warm enough for Canadians, that is. I don’t recall seeing any Brazilians in the water.

Another Pangborn

Chris

Rio_625x156

What a wonderful opportunity to meet the world of sensory and consumer research all in one place. The intensity of the Pangborn Symposium was contrasted by the laid-back lifestyle that we expected of Brazil. The Rio winter provided cooler weather and a bit of rain, although the windy beaches did little to highjack conference attendees. The numbers were comparable with the last three symposia. Perhaps not as many attendees as Toronto, but it presented a great opportunity for Latin America. The combination of plenary sessions, workshops, orals and posters kept everybody hopping. There are virtually no bystanders at Pangborn. People are either presenting or part of a research team and fully engaged with sensory research.

The topics are familiar to those of us that have attended the many conferences offered periodically around the globe. Greater understanding of human behavior is always a source of insight. The plenary sessions delivered breadth and depth and some valuable perspective on interesting new areas of research. I greatly enjoyed chairing the Non-Food Oral Session with my Portuguese colleague, Luis Cunha. The papers ranged from the evaluation of sound to the consuming behaviour of cats.

Michael Plater Findlay gave his first Pangborn oral on the Tuesday morning. With the novelty and visual power of the animated boxplots, bagplots and scatter plots captured the imagination of the audience and gave Michael lots of positive feedback on this new approach.

My own oral session on Sensory Informed Design gave me a chance to answer questions from my old friends, Pascal Schlich and Hal MacFie. It seems that statisticians are well-trained in scepticism. It will always be challenging to prove that a method works beyond a shadow of a doubt. I believe that the use of well-designed sensory informed incomplete blocks results in better quality data that can be effectively clustered. The potential for significant savings in time and money involved in large consumer studies is a compelling reason to adopt the SID approach. We will be publishing more on the topic and would love to collaborate with other research groups interested in this approach to consumer research.

John Castura’s oral presentation laid out the current state of analysis for CATA questions and expanded the methods into some interesting approaches that are published in the Journal of Food Quality and Preference for December 2013.

It was a very good Pangborn for Compusense. We all had the opportunity to present our research and talk to many interested colleagues. In addition, Mark Laird, Jacqueline Dysart and Miranda Robb were busy at our booth talking to clients and others interested in what makes Compusense different. We have two years to prepare for our next Pangborn in Sweden in 2015. Having visited Gothenburg several times for other conferences, I am confident we will have another world-class sensory symposium there and I will look forward to seeing many of you once again.

Compusense Connects at IFT 2013

Mark

Mark IFT image

When the 2013 IFT Annual Meeting and Food Expo meeting in Chicago, Illinois wrapped up on the July 16th, the boxes and displays were packed up with a swarming efficiency that surprises me every year. What was a busy trade show moments ago transforms into rolled carpets and packing cases. This is the 13th IFT Expo that I’ve attended, and every year I’m struck by the enormous scale of the event.

This year, more than 23,000 people descended on McCormick Place to see, meet, speak and connect with others in the food industry. They attend scientific sessions, walk the trade show floor, and meet with clients and potential clients, and talk. They discuss new ideas, new trends and new breakthroughs that will make a difference in the way that they do their jobs over the next year.

My colleague, Tiffany Redwood, demonstrating some of our new and exciting features.

My colleague, Tiffany Redwood, demonstrating some of our new and exciting features.

The fact that these exchanges of ideas happen in person, often one-to-one, and that they’re often effective connections, is one of the things that keeps IFT interesting for me. So much of my work is done electronically, in emails, online and, (kicking and screaming), in blogs. Increasingly, our focus is turned to the personal mobile devices which we’ve readily adopted. Our business is also focusing on mobile and the new techologies that connect people to each other, from iPads, to smart phones to Nexus tablets.

While this is a great area of growth for us, when we can collect product sensory and consumer data wherever we can reach people electronically, I find it interesting that the face to face meeting is still a valuable one. Sometimes, the 10 minutes you spend speaking with someone directly can advance the conversation far more than 10 emails or 10 phone calls. The one-on-one still seems to work. So even though speaking with people directly might seem antiquated, it turns out that attending IFT is still worth the months of planning, travel, and time out of the office.

If I met with you at IFT, I’ll be following up with you, electronically or by phone, over the days and weeks to come. But it’s interesting to note that the conversation started in person. I hope to get a chance to speak with you at IFT next year, in New Orleans. Save the date- June 21-24, 2014. We’ll be there!

In the mean time, be sure to connect with Compusense on Twitter and LinkedIn!

Compusense finds huge success with In-home use testing

Jessica Anselmini

iStock_000003867716_ExtraSmallIn the world of sensory analysis and consumer research, in-home use testing (IHUT or HUT) is an excellent option for companies looking for consumer testing beyond central location testing (CLT). Home testing allows panelists to experience and evaluate products in the way they naturally would in their home setting. An article published in the Journal of Food Science states, “Food testing by consumers in their home is considered more optimal compared with laboratory testing and central location testing with regard to realism while tasting and eating a product sample” (Montouto-Graña et al).

In the world of sensory analysis, response rates for home-use tests are typically very modest. According to a 2012 article published in the Journal of Food Science, “In home use tests (HUTs), products can be tested under their normal conditions of use but more time is required to obtain responses and the possibility of nonresponse is greater” (Montouto-Graña et al).

iStock_000001460269_ExtraSmallI’m very happy to say, and with great pride, that Compusense’s success with HUTs triumphs over this industry statistic. We have experienced unheard of success, with a response rate of 100 per cent for home-use testing with our at-hand sensory software. Our success is largely due to the ease of our testing and application processes for panelists. The process, from start to finish, is extremely user-friendly and we are always available to answer any questions. Our panelists are pre-screened; accurately recruiting only consumers that fit the criteria for our clients’ specific needs. We also monitor the progress of respondents, allowing us to ensure the study is completed correctly and we can send reminder emails if needed. Clients can be confident in knowing that products sent home with panelists will yield a 100 per cent response rate, eliminating over recruitment and wasted product.

Our testing capabilities have allowed us to expand our panelist selection beyond our Guelph location, to people as far as Kitchener-Waterloo, Hamilton, Mississauga and Toronto. Our extraordinary success with in-home use test, as I’ve mentioned, is unheard of in the sensory analysis industry and Compusense is dedicated to share our continued success in all of our sensory services with our valued clients.

For more information regarding our sensory services, please contact us at info@compusense.com.

Source:

Montouto-Graña, Mónica, Sonia Cabanas-Arias, Silvia Porto-Fojo, Ma Lourdes V´azquez-Odériz, and Ma Angeles Romero-Rodríguez. “Sensory Characteristics and Consumer Acceptance and Purchase Intention Toward Fresh-Cut Potatoes” Journal of Food and Science. Vol. 71, Nr. 1. 2012.