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What is a Taste Test?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 16, 2024
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A taste test is a tool used to gather information about the flavor of a food or product. It may be used by a company to ensure consistency, a manufacturer developing a new product, or a group which is trying to prove a point about the differences, or lack thereof, between two products. There are an assortment of other uses for a taste test, which is often carried out on the corporate level by professional “tasters” who have trained to be impartial and valuable tools in the taste profiling process.

When a taste test is used to compare or contrast foods, it is typically performed blind. In a blind test, the tasters do not know what they are tasting. They are offered samples of the product in identical presentations and asked to taste and profile the samples. In a double-blind test, the people offering the samples also do not know what they are. This is designed to ensure impartiality, making the end results potentially more valid.

Any sort of edible can be analyzed using a taste test. Some famous examples include the regular quality control tests performed by a number of companies which want to keep their products consistent. These types of tests have also been performed on everything from water to salt. Often, a taste test illuminates very subtle and complex differences between product formulations, especially when professional tasters are involved.

To run a professional taste test, each taster is typically isolated in a booth. The tasters usually wear no perfumes or scents, and their clothing is laundered in neutral soaps. This is intended to minimize interference with the test. Usually a palate cleanser is provided as well, so that each taster can start fresh with each taste. An array of numbered samples are provided, and the taster checks each one, taking notes or making comments about the product.

When a company is gearing up for a major product release, taste tests are very important. A panel of tasters will ultimately determine the formulation of the product, by commenting on flavors and textures they like and do not like. For companies which want to keep their products consistent, a panel of trained tasters familiar with their products is crucial.

People can replicate a taste test at home for fun if they would like to do things like contrast bottled and tap water or experiment with a panel of wines. When conducting such a test at home, try to avoid biasing the participants. A blind test is a great way to do that, and can be accomplished by having an “administrator” fill sample cups out of sight of the participants.

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Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a DelightedCooking researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By anon330150 — On Apr 14, 2013

What's the weakness in blind testing?

By anon241354 — On Jan 18, 2012

In our science class, we are doing a blind taste test. We are researching tips, choosing a product and something to cleanse their palate (so they don't mix the tastes). These tests help us to figure out, on a large scale, if the public chooses the name brand or a different brand of the same food/drink.

By anon217689 — On Sep 26, 2011

A taste test I performed was on water. I got eight plastic cups and numbered them 1 to 8. In four of the cups I poured some tap water (random sequence)and recorded the number, and put bottled water in the other four.

I got a participant to taste and separate the cups in two groups of four to see if they could find the difference. When put to the test results may be surprising. If separation is four right then definite taste, if two then no difference.

By anon180450 — On May 26, 2011

does anyone know of a company that does this?

By BrickBack — On Dec 05, 2010

Nado007-I know that a lot of companies will use a taste test video in order to promote the taste of their new products.

If the findings are particularly positive, the testimonial could be very beneficial and powerful when played on a commercial.

They usually call these types of ads a taste test commercial or a taste test challenge.

Sometimes these taste tests are done when a product is enhancing their formulas and want feedback from the public.

For example, when Cherry Coke first came out it was a different variation of the same drink and there were many taste tests associated with the drink. When a soft drink offers additional diet drink formulations it is also tested in this fashion.

By nado007 — On Mar 03, 2008

hi, thanks for this helpful Info, could any one give me some more information about the taste procedure, or more info about taste test

thank you

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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