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Whilst Goldilocks might have appeared fussy when eating her porridge, her sensory reaction is typical of why between 80 and 90 per cent of all new food products are withdrawn from the market within six months of launch. Too sweet or plain, too coarse or smooth, the wrong smell or too noisy to crunch are all reasons why consumers reject foods.

Sensory analysis is an increasingly important skill to enable the food industry to comprehensively improve its products including eating quality, marketing, packaging and visual appeal.  On April 13th the Ulster University Business School’s Agri-Food Business Development Centre though its Food and Consumer Testing Suite (FACTS) is hosting an event when three of the UK’s leading UK experts in sensory analysis and a US expert on food marketing will share best practice.   Also topping the bill is a world leading pâtissière whose work has been exhibited at the Tate Gallery.

FACTS director Dr Amy Burns explains, “Every sense is involved in our experience of food and drink.  When consumers say they like a food product and that it tastes nice there’s a lot more going on as well.  Texture is important.  Even sound is important.”

“This one-day course will introduce attendees to the concept of sensory tasting and innovation focusing specifically on how to gain competitive advantage through innovation.  It will cover food trends, developing innovative products, sensory analysis, packaging analysis and exporting products in foreign markets.  The second half of the course will include a chocolate innovation workshop.”

Dr Lynsey Hollywood, Agri-Food Development Centre Manager added, “We are delighted to welcome some of the world’s experts to our Belfast campus for this unique event.  Professor Grainne Allen, Marks & Spencer; Ciara Rafferty, Mintel; Simon Harrop, Brand Sense Academy and Philadelphia based Professor Tom Kennedy, will line up alongside former Michelin-starred chef Graham Mairs who will demonstrate innovation through a creative chocolate workshop.”

“This is fantastic opportunity for our local food producers to see at first hand how to develop their skills in sensory analysis. Embracing these skills will potentially save significant monies by helping assure the success of new products when they are launched on the market.”

For further information, or to register for this course, visist :