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Since 1975, the Sensory Analysis Laboratory has provided sensory evaluation services to both industry and university researchers, and been involved in various types of research projects of food products.

Located in Babcock Hall on the campus of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the Sensory Analysis Laboratory takes pride in having at its disposal:

  • A diverse pool of panelists readily available for participation in sensory panels.
  • Consumer preference evaluations conducted at the Dairy Products Salesroom, UW-Madison.
  • Proximity to the Food Science Department allows sensory analysis data to be integrated with the problem-solving facilities of a gas and high-performance liquid chromatography laboratory. Integration of these services to form mini-research projects is available.
  • How It Works/What a Panel is about

    A person’s sense of taste, smell, touch, sound and sight form his perception of food. In a taste panel, these senses can be measured scientifically to obtain information about particular aspects of a food.

    When conducting a taste panel, food is uniformly prepared and presented to panelists in isolated booths. Judges record evaluations of the product on a ballot which is decoded and analyzed by statistical procedures.

    Facilities of the Sensory Analysis Laboratory include:

  • Results available one week after a test.
  • Isolated taste panel booths.
  • Variable lighting conditions.
  • Equipment for the preparation and service of a wide variety of food products.
  • A full comprehensive report, including interpretive findings based on data.
  • Rapid response available on request.
  • Charges for services offered are calculated on a cost-recovery basis and are extremely competitive.

    Routine Services Offered

  • Difference testing ~ determines if samples are perceived to be different.
  • Consumer preference tests ~ utilize untrained consumers to determine the acceptability of a product.

  • For more information on the Sensory Analysis Laboratory contact Professor Scott Rankin at:
    608-263-2008 or