How food packaging can be enhanced by sensory analysis


Could you explain your work in a few sentences?

My work is really varied. It can lie in a range of areas along the research chain including desk research, business to business research, sensory testing, consumer testing, and market research.

My company helps clients understand and gain insight into their markets, consumers, and products. One of the areas I have been involved in recently is sensory and consumer research and packaging design.

How did you end up working in this field?

During my first degree in food science, I specialised in sensory evaluation and was lucky enough to have one of the founders of modern sensory evaluation, Rose Marie Pangborn, as one of my teachers.

I have been working in this area pretty much ever since. In terms of packaging, it has always been relevant to many of my clients, although it used to be mostly about ensuring that packaging did not taint the food and drink contained.

A few years ago, I was asked to write a series of reports on packaging innovation in the food and drink sector, which really sparked my interest in the area.

Then in 2019 I co-organised, along with Dr Qian Yang from the University of Nottingham, an IFST Sensory Science Group/ Society of Chemical Industry Food Group workshop at the Pangborn Sensory Science Symposium in Edinburgh.

The workshop introduced and explored the role of sensory and consumer science in packaging with presentations and speakers focusing on cross-modal sensory effects, design principles, brand congruence, and the role of consumers in testing/co-creation of novel features.