Solutions for industry

Our laboratory provides a number of services that help industry solve difficult problems, minimize development and process optimization expense, improve quality, and reduce time-to-market for new products.

Although our main objective is to conduct research that eventually enters the public domain we also collaborate with industry on confidential projects.  A robust, documented project management process guarantees the quality of our work.

We offer the following solutions to industry:

  • Research and consulting services
  • Technical Services
  • Sensory Evaluation

If your products contain edible fats and oils we look forward to working with you.  Some examples of products with which we work include:

  • Edible oils and fats (vegetable oils, animal and marine oils and fats)
  • Dairy fats
  • Chocolate and confectionery products
  • Ice cream
  • Cheese
  • Fried foods
  • Baked foods and snacks

Our research laboratories provides comprehensive research services to industry.  We can help your company further its knowledge and understanding of materials, products, and processes that lead to unique and higher quality products that outperform the competition.

We collaborate on projects where  our unique expertise and capability in lipid crystallization, kinetics, and microstructure can contribute to solving critical technical and business issues faced by food producers.

We work with the world’s largest food companies and provide solutions such as:

  • Process optimization
  • Ingredient substitution
  • Product nutrition optimization
  • Product development
  • Product texture and flavor optimization
  • Shelf life optimization
  • and much more!

At our disposal we have the latest analytical equipment, extensive pilot plant facilities, and a modern sensory evaluation facility.

We work with a wide range of fat containing food categories such as:

  • chocolate and confections
  • dairy products (cheese, ice cream, butter & milkfat)
  • baked goods, fried foods and snacks
  • healthy oils such as flaxseed oil, fish oil, salba oil, and others

Analytical Services

The sensory properties of fat containing foods such as chocolate, margarine, butter and ice-cream are strongly influenced by an underlying network of fat crystals.  This fat crystal network is largely responsible for the mechanical properties of the material, and therefore its textural and sensory properties.

Food developers and manufacturers must  be keenly aware of how microstructure impacts the quality of their products.

We provide critical information to the world’s leading food manufacturers that drive their business forward.  Our Analytical Services will:

  • accelerate your product development life cycle
  • improve quality and shelf life of food products and ingredients
  • optimize production processes, reduce manufacturing time and minimize production costs

Analytical Techniques

We use the latest analytical techniques and methodologies to investigate microstructure in food systems.

Our laboratory commonly employs the following techniques to help the food industry solve problems efficiently and cost effectively.

  • Light Microscopy, Digital Imaging and Analysis
  • X-Ray Diffraction
  • Differential Scanning Calorimetry
  • Rheometry
  • Pulse Nuclear Magnetic Resonance
  • Ultrasonics

We offer more to the food manufacture than simple analytical test results.  We add our experience and provide thorough analysis and interpretation of results.  These are delivered to you in the context of the critical issues you must address

Sensory Evaluation Facilities at Utah State University

Sensory analysis is an essential analytical tool for developing or modifying food products,
creating and optimizing food production processes, and ensuring consistent product quality.

At Utah State University, in the Nutrition and Food Sciences Department we extend our sensory
evaluation expertise to meet the needs of the food industry in the US, Canada, Mexico, and
South America.

Our expertise and our facilities rank among the best in the world. Whether your
company is a smaller innovative firm or a world market leader our experts can help your

  • bring new products to market faster
  • optimize production processes
  • mitigate risk of product failure in the marketplace
  • outperform the competition

We offer a wide range of sensory evaluation services. These include:

  • Difference Testing
  • Descriptive Analysis
  • Consumer Acceptance Tests
  • Ranking Analysis
  • Time Intensity Studies
  • Accelerated Stability Studies
  • Attribute consistency with time (Quality)
  • Attribute difference evaluation
  • Relative preference

Our pilot plant, analytical laboratories, and research facilities complement our sensory service
enabling us to provide a comprehensive service for developing products, processes, and
troubleshooting problems.

Why do the world’s leading food companies come to us? We understand that they operate in a
dynamic, ever-changing marketplace. To provide the highest level of collaborative confidential
service we:

  • tailor projects to address their critical business issues
  • run projects on-time and on-budget
  • provide superior quality and service
  • rigorously follow a robust project delivery process
  • offer expert interpretation
  • deliver a complete package including professional easy to read documentation, raw data, and statistical summary reports

Sensory Panels

Panelists are recruited or selected based of project specifications. Our descriptive analysis
panelists are highly trained, skilled technicians with an intimate understanding of their craft
and the food systems in which they specialize.

Our Descriptive Analysis service specializes in the following areas:

  • edible fats and oils and fat containing foods
  • chocolate and confectioneries
  • fried foods, baked goods, and snacks
  • diary products including milk beverages, cheese, butter & butter blends, ice cream, and

Sensory Facilities

We are proud of our modern facility which boasts a large preparation area, and isolated test
booths equipped with the latest computer interface technology and industry standard software.
Comfortable briefing and debriefing facilities accommodate panelists and sensory technicians.

USU’s well known pilot plant facility is located immediately next to the sensory evaluation
facilities. Small scale production trials and scale up trials can be performed in the pilot plant.
Raw materials, in-process samples and finished product can be evaluated by sensory panels at
any time.

Unlike most sensory facilities that test finished product we can offer a
comprehensive service that reduces your product development cycle time and results in
superior quality finished products.

Chemical and physical testing laboratories also support the sensory facility by providing
objective analytical data data that can be correlated with sensory data.

Project Process

A robust project delivery process that considers your expectations ensures we meet your
objectives time and time again. Most projects include the following steps:

  • document your critical business issues and objectives (e.g. reduce product development
    life cycle, modify and optimize a product, optimize a production process, test against a
    competitive product, etc.)
  • document project design
  • review project design with client
  • panel(s) evaluate according to test design specification
  • collect, review, assemble, and analyze data
  • interpret results
  • document and report project and findings
  • review project with client
  • conduct project postmortem


The sensory facilities work on both fixed cost (firm price) and variable cost (hourly rate) basis.
Projects are tailored to meet your specifications. Our prices reflect material, equipment and
resources required to complete the project to your specifications.

Call today to see how we can help!

For more information about USU’s Sensory Evaluation Service please contact:

Silvana Martini Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Department of Nutrition, Dietetics, and Food Sciences, Utah State University
750 North 1200 East
Logan, Utah USA 84322-8700
Telephone: 435-797-8136; Email: [email protected]