50 countries use PanelCheck

Sensory panels need to be in a constant state of development, they need to become better and more coordinated. Now more than 500 users in 50 countries have registered and downloaded PanelCheck, a tool for testing sensory performance.

Sensory panels are an important instrument in the science of sensory perception, the science of the senses - and Nofima Mat's panel at Ås is one of the best in Europe. With the aid of the human senses a product's properties - such as colour, form, smell, taste, texture, consistency and sound - can be judged and described.

Sensory assessment

The PanelCheck software enables tests to be made of the performance of the whole panel and also the judgement of the individual assessors. You can reveal which products or which sensory properties the assessors may need further training or calibration in. To put it simply, PanelCheck acts as a quality control of sensory analyses. It is also relatively simple to analyse the test results, because difficult statistical material is made more accessible by the extensive use of graphs.

Great interest from industry and institutions

The 500 users are almost evenly divided between industry and institutions of learning. The software, which can be downloaded free of charge from the website of Nofima Mat (formerly Matforsk), is the result of a research project with the same name. This has been going on since 2005. The project is financed by the Research Council of Norway and the participating companies: Arcus, Hennig Olsen Is, Nortura, Tine and Nofima Marin (formerly Fiskerforskning).

"Interest in PanelCheck is increasing all the time and, even though companies and institutions in Europe account for about half the downloads, users all over the world have shown interest," says researcher Oliver Tomic of Nofima Mat.
In the last six months alone, Nofima Mat has arranged several courses and workshops, in Copenhagen, the Netherlands, South Africa and Australia among other places, at which participants have learned more about the methods used in PanelCheck. The next workshop will be held during the Sensometrics 2008 conference in Canada in July.