Pet food sensory analysis provides competitive advantages
Live from Petfood Innovation Workshop, Kadri Koppel discusses how smell, texture, taste and other sensations can explain why certain pet food products succeed.
Pet food sensory analysis can give clues about which products will please both pets and their owners, said Kadri Koppel, PhD, assistant professor at Kansas State University, during her keynote address at the Petfood Innovation Workshop held in Kansas City, Missouri, USA on April 3, 2017.
“Consider sensory testing as one of the ways to figure out what pets and owners really like,” she told Petfood Industry. “I think that will help you along in your market success and your product success.”
How sensory analysis can help pet food companies
Pet food characteristics, pets’ reactions and owners’ observations make up a triangle of influences on whether a pet food succeeds in the market, she said. Smell, texture, taste and other sensations can determine if dogs and cats accept or reject a pet food. Similarly, the sensory characteristics of the pet food and its packaging influence pet owners’ perception of the food.
Beyond observing their pets’ responses to food, pet owners note physical characteristics of the pet food and its packaging that can have important repercussions, she said.
“Don’t change color of package,” advised Koppel. “Customers think, ‘I know I buy the yellow bag’ even if they don’t recall the exact variety.”
Once the package is open, some characteristics that pets may love can disgust their owners. For example, while dogs may be attracted to pungent odors, owners may be unwilling to tolerate that stink in their homes, she said.
Options for pet food sensory analysis
Larger pet food companies may…