Product Optimisation

Optimise products while considering the whole sensory experience

A leading sparkling wine manufacturer contacted SAM with the challenge of identifying the most important sensory attributes that were penalising its performance. The goal was to adjust these attributes accordingly to increase product preference.

SAM’s approach was to conduct this research using ‘Just About Right’ (JAR) questions and Central Location tests with 6 sparkling wines using 5 JAR questions. Penalty Analysis of the JAR data identified that Carbonation was what most strongly impacted the liking of the product.

But while Classical Penalty Analysis helps rank the attributes of a respective product, the approach tends to overestimate the penalising impact of individual sensory attributes and underestimate the interaction of the different sensory descriptors.

In order to use JAR questions and apply Penalty Analysis to provide a realistic assessment of sensory characteristics, SAM integrated a new methodology, originally developed by Agrocampus Ouest [“Another way to treat JAR scales”], into its approach to Penalty Analysis, based on an ANOVA model which considers all JAR descriptors to better explain the overall liking score.

SAM’s assessment revealed that increasing carbonation would also impact sweetness, bitterness and sourness, and made it possible to estimate more precisely the gain in liking when taking all of these sensory interactions into consideration.


The manufacturer monitored the reformulation of its beverage in a more precise way with consideration given to the interaction between all sensory characteristics, rather than giving too much importance to any single characteristic.

For more information on SAM’s novel approach to Penalty Analysis, contact us.