OSU helps entrepreneurs launch new food products

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FIC's sensory program manager Ann Colonna samples a pear. (Photo by Lynn Ketchum)

OSU has its finger on the pulse of consumers’ food preferences

OSU’s Food Innovation Center offers a full-service product development lab for food manufacturers—its clients include local entrepreneurs and internationally known brands. A key part of the FIC’s suite of services is the Sensory & Consumer Testing program, which provides informed, impartial feedback on a new or tried-and-true recipe. Sensory testing gives food manufacturers a reliable basis for estimating the popularity and potential market of a product before it’s launched.

The sensory lab features a kitchen in which multiple identical plates of food are prepared for testers, who are carefully selected from a database of more than 29,000 people based on a variety of personal demographics. Testers are asked to rate a food’s flavor, color, texture, presentation, “crunch,” packaging, and a host of other factors.

The lab can also support general industry inquiries. Program manager Ann Colonna reported in March 2017 to the Seafood Expo North America the results of an FIC study comparing fresh and frozen fish. Coho salmon and black cod that had been frozen immediately after being caught stood up better to tasters’ standards than fish that had never been frozen and was being sold as “fresh” in a grocery store.

Source: Ann Colonna, Food Innovation Center

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