Photo by Brigitte Tohm

In this post, we will go through a basic analysis of a product.

How to evaluate your food product:

Before you begin, make sure your evaluation space is:

  • Clean and free of clutter
  • Void of strong odors
  • Quiet with no distractions
  • Product is on a plain or white background
  1. First, assess the APPEARANCE
    • What does the product look like?
    • What is the color? Is it transparent? Is it bumpy on the surface? It it shiny?
  2. Then, we evaluate the AROMA
    • What does the product smell like?
    • Be as specific as you can when you describe it. For example: If it smells fruity, try to identify what kind of fruit it smells like.
  3. Next, we move on to the FLAVOR
    • How does the product taste?
    • You may start out with describing it using your 5 basic tastes. Is it sweet, sour, bitter? Then, focus on specific characteristics. For example, lemon, caramelization, smoke.
  4. After flavor, we move on to the TEXTURE/MOUTHFEEL
    • There are 3 types of texture
      • Visual: What does the product look like? Bumpy, smooth, etc. This may be assesed in the appearance part of the evaluation
      • Tactile: How does the product feel? To the touch and in your mouth.
      • Auditory: What sound does it make while consumed? Is it a high pitched crisp like a potato chip? Or a low pitched crunch like an almond?
  5. Finally, we finish with evaluating the AFTERTASTE
    • How does it taste after it is swallowed? Is it slightly sweet, or bitter? Does it leave a floral taste after swallowing?

Lisa Fotios

  1. Compile a REPORT once you’re done evaluating
    • Gather up your data and make a conclusion.
    • If you have an action standard, did this product meet it?
    • Some things to include in your report: Project & objective, evaluation process details, persons involved, date, and a description of the samples evaluated. Good documentation will help you in future evaluations.


Some things to note:

  • “Garbage in=garbage out”- If you begin evaluating under the wrong conditions (wrong scale, biased panelists), you may get undependable results
  • Descriptive words like floral and lemon are merely just labels. Clear definitions are important. Make sure you know exactly what you mean when you say “lemon”.


These 6 steps are all you need to do a basic sensory evaluation. More in-depth studies and tests require controlled settings, samples, and through statistical analysis and reporting. Some may even require highly trained panelists.

But for now, these 6 steps are all you need to start evaluating your product right away-as simple as that!

Stay tuned on Peas On Moss for more on scales and Sensory Evaluation.