Innovation Management and Sensory Evaluation
Taking an innovative and practical approach, we work with you to develop customised solutions to your problems in the field of sensory evaluation and product development.
Our portfolio encompasses a wide range of methods. Using consumer tests, we assess product acceptance, concept acceptance and willingness to pay.
As an additional aid to improving understanding of consumer needs and ensuring that they are addressed appropriately, we draw up objective sensory product profiles. New scientific insights are always taken into account and acted on.
On your behalf we analyse how well your product is received by consumers. Which prototype is most popular? How is my product judged by comparison with a competing product? How can the popularity of my product be increased? What sensory properties still need to be improved?
We use methods (including preference mapping and conjoint analysis) that are appropriate to your particular situation. Consumer tests are conducted under controlled conditions in our standardised sensory laboratory in Zollikofen; if necessary, we also collaborate with our research partners in French-speaking Switzerland and/or in the Zurich area.
To model realistic consumption and use situations, we also conduct home-use tests.
We recruit via various channels in German- and French-speaking Switzerland on a target-group-specific basis, ensuring that samples are representative in terms of defined characteristics (such as age, gender, consumption frequency, region, etc.). One of the sources we draw on is our steadily growing Food Tasting Community on Facebook and Instagram.
Thanks to our international experience and extensive partner network, we can also conduct consumer studies for you in other countries.
Our trained panel of external experts helps with the analysis of sensory product characteristics and differences. The testers have many years’ experience of sensory analysis and can be called on for specific projects. The sensory tests can be conducted alongside consumer studies in order to yield a rounded picture. We can also help you identify the effect of various influences – such as changes in processes or raw materials – on the sensory properties of your products.
Using EyeQuestion software, we can collect data online in modern and up-to-date ways – both for home-use tests and for other approaches.
For example, to facilitate “real moment” data collection by consumers, the online questionnaire can be filled in on a smartphone or tablet.
We use a variety of qualitative methods to explore consumers’ latent attitudes and motives.
Professionally moderated focus groups provide you with important insights into consumers’ motives and needs and provide a basis for further project steps.
By working with product designers, drawings of important aspects that are identified can be produced during the group discussion, for example in the form of packaging sketches or consumer insight scenes.
The Innovation Factory at BFH-HAFL brings target-group consumers, entrepreneurs and students together to explore novel ideas.
A seminar with spice for companies and clubs
Are you looking for an attractive programme for your group or team event? Explore the world of the senses through a focus on food. With its mixture of science and entertainment, Sensotainment® caters for every taste.
Do you know what chocolate tastes like if you hold your nose? Could you tell that a green yoghurt is actually raspberry flavoured? Sensotainment® gives you new insights into your own perceptions.
In intriguing experiments participants discover how the senses of taste, smell, touch and sight interact and influence our eating habits, while sensory experts explain the theoretical background.
Sensotainment® is suitable for team and management events arranged by companies and organisations, as an event for members of clubs and associations and as part of the supporting programme for training courses.
Would you like to improve your sensory abilities or reorganise your descriptive panel?
We are happy to help you with:
- Customised in-house training
- Design and implementation of company sensory evaluation processes
- Procurement of sensory tools for your company’s work
- Training of internal sensory panels
We have an external consumer panel that we can call on as necessary for tasting sessions or online surveys.
We are always looking to expand the panel and are therefore keen to contact interested consumers in the region. There are no specific criteria that you need to meet, but you must be passionate about tasting foods and helping to shape the product world of tomorrow. You will be paid for each test that you take part in.
“The collaboration with students has been a definite bonus for our company. MSc theses, in particular, yielded valuable information about current issues. BFH-HAFL was always on hand to supervise the students and provide proactive support. This meant that academic and practical aspects were combined in the best possible way. The work with the lecturers was thoroughly enjoyable – from the formulation of objectives to the final conclusion. The time and effort that the company put in definitely paid off.”
Rahel Jakob, Head of Process Development R&D, Chocolat Frey
“We worked with the BFH-HAFL team to improve our understanding of our consumers’ expectations of Gruyère AOP at various stages of ripeness. For Interprofession du Gruyère as a variety organisation it was important to consult a university that measures consumers’ perceptions scientifically (the process must be standards-based and blind) so that marketing and strategy decisions can be taken on the basis of hedonistic data. The collaboration with the bilingual BFH-HAFL team, which enabled this preference mapping to be conducted in German- and French-speaking Switzerland and to take account of the age of the consumers, was very pleasant and professional.”
Philippe Bardet, Director, Interprofession du Gruyère
“In the concept and product test conducted at HAFL, many consumers rated certain ingredients more critically than we had assumed. Some formulations scored below average in terms of taste. This led us to change the delivery form from a pill to be sucked to one to be swallowed; the new form enabled the points criticised by consumers to be resolved. For internal implementation it was important to us to be able to provide evidence of this on the basis of a quantitative consumer test. The product is now successfully on the market.”
Head of Product Development Food and Food Supplements, A.Vogel AG
‘Our service queries are always dealt with quickly and efficiently. Communication was pragmatic and straightforward, so that we were able to implement the projects in a goal-directed manner.’
Vanessa Kuster, Product Manager Retail, Pastinella Orior Menu AG
Sensory evaluation of products can be performed under controlled conditions in our sensory laboratory. The laboratory has eleven test booths (ISO 8589:2007) equipped with the sensory software EyeQuestion® and with red and green lighting that can be used to mask visual differences.
Are you interested in working with us or would you like to know more about our activities in the field of sensory evaluation? Please contact us.