The Future of Sensory Science

It’s hard to believe that Pangborn Conference has come and gone once again. The conference is always an intriguing bellwether in the state of our discipline. We look forward to it for so long and it vanishes far too quickly. Reflecting on the camaraderie of our discipline and the friendliness of our peers, some recurring themes occur. It is important to take a moment to pause to see where the new research of the day is taking the discipline.

Some Observations from Pangborn 2017

  • Although traditional sensory and consumer techniques have been around for many years, the key to a successful and sustainable product launch is understanding how to blend and leverage traditional and new techniques to truly understand consumer behavior. Many new researchers are putting a strong stake in the ground to understand these dynamics in much more detail–very impressive.
  • Bringing the consumer into the development process early is critical to ensuring development is moving in the right direction. While our industry has always been consumer-focused, it feels like there is a renaissance on how to engage the consumer–it’s fascinating.
  • Understanding changes in behavior patterns driven by circumstances (environment, peer perception, etc.) is the key to repeat purchase. So many of my peers are really starting to understand this relationship in intimate detail–as this research evolves, the entire industry will be in a better position.

Experienced sensory professionals who have incorporated methodologies of other disciplines to truly understand what drives purchase/consumption behavior will be key to ensuring the success of future product development whether it be for product improvements or exploring development in white spaces. Our industry has a bright future ahead of it!

Pangborn 2018 and the Future of Sensory

As we turn the page with anticipation to Pangborn 2018 and our rendezvous in Edinburgh, I’m excited to see where the discipline heads next. Sensory science is about finding out what moves the needle for the consumer–the next two years will be very enlightening in this regard. Keep up the good work!