In an independent survey of 500 food industry professionals, only 3.5 percent of respondents thought analytical devices would decrease the use of sensory analysis panels. On an importance scale, sensory analysis was ranked "very important" in product shelf life (68.6 percent), quality control measures (58.9 percent) and evaluating competitor product performance (57 percent).

Most survey respondents have in-house sensory panels; 37 percent have trained descriptive panels and 22.5 percent have untrained or consumer-type panels. Baked goods were the most tested food product for affective/discriminative testing by untrained consumer panels, while meat and poultry products were the most tested food item by trained descriptive panels.

In all, nearly 70 percent of surveyed companies have increased sensory analysis in the past five years and will increase even further in the next five years.

21st Sensory Inc., P.O. Box 3913 512C SE Washington Blvd., Bartlesville, OK 74006. Tel.: (918) 333-1011; Fax: (918) 333-7773; Website: