Conventional scales can only represent differences to a limited extent
The problem of conventional scales becomes clear when several products are to be evaluated that have subtle but decisive differences. Let’s assume we need to compare the spiciness of three products. The respondent perceives product 1 as “very spicy”. Consequently, a “7” is assigned on a conventional 7-point scale.
Subsequently, the taste of product 2 is perceived as significantly “spicier” than product 1. Which scale value will the respondent choose? As a rule, they will select “7” again. Finally, product 3 follows. It is only “slightly less spicy” than product 2 but “spicier” than product 1, i.e. its spiciness lies between products 1 and 2. Which scale value does the test person choose? Here, too, the “7” is often chosen.
Consequently, the perception of product differences is only inaccurately evaluated. Product developers thus receive only insufficient information for formulation development and product optimization.
The Magnitude Estimation Scale (MES) makes the differences visible
With the Sensup® method, there is no limitation of the scale values. Each consumer chooses their individual scale – with a 0-point and unlimited upwards! They can thus give the 2nd product twice as much value as the 1st product. And they can give the 3rd product an only slightly lower value than the 2nd product. Thus the differences are not only visible, but also still proportionally evaluated.
Expressed in numbers:
The 3 products are tested with regard to a certain characteristic (e.g. spiciness):
- Product 2 is slightly spicier than Product 1.
- Product 3 is three times spicier than product 2
Only the SensUp-scale on the right reflects these differences proportionately!
Determining the decisive product properties
In the results analysis, however, not only the ratings of the individual sensory product properties are taken into account. In addition, the most important product properties for a positive overall impression are identified. This is done by means of a driver analysis (penalty reward analysis), which is calculated as a function of the overall rating.
Comparison with the ideal product
The highly differentiating measurement technology of Sensup® not only determines the characteristics and acceptance of product features in comparison to other products (for example, those of competitors). The test persons are also asked to evaluate the tested products in relation to their personal ideal product of a category. This benchmarking provides valuable information for the profitable optimization of one’s own product.
Typical areas of application
The Sensup® method is ideal for the (new) development and optimization of products with sensory properties (odor, taste, feel, appearance). For benchmarking or comparisons with competitor products, the method provides precise indications for profitable changes to the formulation. Brand influence can also be measured by comparing the results of two tests with and without brand influence (blind test). Recipe adjustments can mean cost savings (e.g. by replacing ingredients) and rationalization.