Long standing ICG member Carol Raithatha has an article published in the September 2021 issue of Food Science and Technology. In it, she gives a ‘taster’ of what a sensory scientist does. Sensory science is a specialist area of research. It incorporates what we market researchers refer to as ‘product testing’ but goes that bit further, and includes working with trained ‘panels’ of individuals who become expert in evaluating products and specific sensory perceptions.
Sensory science can involve collaborating with and/or training professionals such as wine tasters, hair stylists, etc. More often the ‘experts’ are recruited members of the public who are screened for their sensory and descriptive abilities and then trained for the specific role of a sensory assessor. The output of these panels is insight that leads to multisensory design and optimisation. Ideally expert panel feedback is correlated with consumer reaction, the central theme being that product or service users can tell you very well what they like or don’t like, while trained experts can pinpoint and describe sensations in detail.
Carol has come from a background of Food Science but over her career has progressively moved into the market research world, initially via product testing but laterally working in all sorts of areas such as desk, qualitative, and B2B research. Although many of her activities focus on food, others relate to sensory perception issues in other sectors, or address different topics all together. For example, Carol has worked on projects within transport, health and wellbeing, professional services, DIY, automotives, and many other areas.
Carol has been a member of the ICG for almost 20 years. For her, the ICG represents a wonderful community of colleagues that provide valued support and inspiration.
You can read Carol’s article here