Towards more sustainable sensory descriptive analysis


Sustainable Sensory Descriptive Analysis - rinsing product and booth lighting are part of the solution!

The development of environmental strategies to reduce the carbon footprint in sensory and consumer research is key for SAM’s sustainability goals to become carbon neutral by 2025. SAM conducted research into sustainable options for booth lighting and water consumption for mouth rinsing agents.


Booth lighting

Comparison tests were conducted with two variations of booth lighting: current LED light vs new LED lighting and NEON lights vs LED lights. Trained panellists completed appearance descriptors and descriptive profile evaluations on products covering 5 categories of food (yoghurt, cheese, cereals) and non-food (pens, colouring pencils) products. The randomization of lighting between participants and product types was present for each lighting comparison.

Water in mouth rinse protocol

A sensory expert panel assessed the rinsing efficiency of bottled water compared to filtered and regular tap water and any impact on the sensory characteristics of food product evaluations.


Booth lighting

No significant differences were identified for LED vs new LED for product characterisations on yogurt and cheese products however differences were observed on non-food products (pens and colouring pencils).

Product characterisation of cereals under NEON vs LED lighting resulted in no significant difference.

Water in mouth rinse protocol

No difference was detected between bottled water and filtered tap water, and similarly between filtered tap water and regular tap water.

No difference was identified between ratings of aroma and flavour sensory characteristics between water types.


The current LED lighting is the most sustainable choice for booth lighting without impacting sensory trained panel conclusions.

Bottled and tap water give the same efficiency results supporting tap water usage for the most sustainable mouth rinsing agent. However, protocol to monitor the stability of the tap water should be put in place.

Further research: Future investigation into other mouth cleansing agents (unsalted crackers / cucumber etc) to find the favourable combinations for sustainable waste management.

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