Trained panel of experts
Objective product evaluation requires a panel of at least 10 trained experts.
The set up of an expert panel starts with a product-specific selection on sensitivity and aptitude to identify and quantify the perceived stimuli.
The best quarter of the participants will be retained for further training. This training consists of several stages : determination of the relevant descriptors, set up of evaluation procedures, definition and calibration of scales and finally memorizing the calibration points on the scales. Only then the expert panel is ready to draw up the sensory profile of a test product.
Starting up a panel of experts can therefor easily take three to six months, depending on the extent of the desired profile.
A good expert panel shows only limited inter- and intra-panel variations : product evaluations are consistent within the panel and repeatable in time. Monitoring the panel performance with additional training sessions if necessary optimizes the quality of the panel.