Sensory methods

A guide for the selection of suitable sensory methods

Sensory assessors and/or consumers are often used to confirm the suitability and/or acceptability of newly (re-)formulated products. Given reduced lead times associated with product development initiatives, robust but rapid and cost-effective evaluation methods are required.

Referring to a series of recent case studies, this white paper presents and compares several sensory methods, which the industry may want to consider for the evaluation of very small to large sets of products.

The sensory methods include: Campden BRI Free Description (FD), Campden BRI Training Rating Method (TRM), Campden BRI Rapid Attribute Profiling (RAP - a shorter version of the well-known and traditional QDA® approach), Campden BRI Relative Profiling (RP), Consensus Profiling (CP), Pivot© Profile (PP), Flash Profile (FP), Ranking Descriptive Analysis (RDA), Free Sorting (FS), Descendant Hierarchical Free Sorting (DHFS), Projective Mapping (PM), Group/Consensus Projective Mapping (G-PM), Polarised Projective Mapping (PPM), Triadic-PSP (T-PSP) and Polarised Sensory Positioning (PSP).

For some insight into the practical implementation but also advantages and drawbacks of each of the above methods, the reader is referred to An evaluation of traditional and novel sensory and consumer methods suitable for product characterisation: sensory methods Parts 1 and 2 – R&D Reports 414 and 423, which are available on the project web page.


An ongoing 3-year research project is examining a selection of traditional and novel (or less often used) sensory and consumer methods to support the product development process. It focuses on where/how these methods can be applied and their practical advantages and drawbacks, as well as how the data collected can be processed and how the outputs obtained may appear.

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