About the Sensory Center

The Sensory Center is a testing service unit within the Department of Food Science and Nutrition, University of Minnesota. The Center provides a full range of sensory and consumer testing, including test design, data analysis interpretation and reporting. Our clients include food companies, private research corporations, and researchers from our own and other Universities. The center combines our expertise in food science, sensory methods, sensory physiology and sensory psychology, with business problem-solving skills to answer your sensory questions.


  • Consulting
  • Product and package functionality testing
  • Panel recruiting. Our database consists of on-campus students and staff
  • Descriptive analysis, including panel screening and training, lexicon development and testing using a wide variety of food and non-food products
  • Difference testing
  • Team tastings
  • Consumer liking and preference
  • Extended eating tests, measuring long-term acceptability
  • Focus groups/interviews
  • Home use tests
  • Recipe instruction usability evaluation


Fees are based on actual costs of supplies, labor, facility use, and payment to panelists. Please contact one of the coordinators to discuss your testing needs and receive a cost estimate.


We have two testing facilities each with 8 testing booths and computers. Both facilities have adjacent kitchen labs for test preparation. In addition, there are classrooms and conference rooms near the testing facilities that can be used for focus groups or larger consumer studies.


Dr. Zata Vickers
[email protected]