Finding how different product profiles impact consumer experience.

sensory testing booths


Without the highest data quality, sensory and consumer research investigators cannot deliver the reliable insights needed to address consumer needs and expectations.


The founders of the Davis Sensory Institute have decades of academic and applied experience executing optimally designed experiments, resulting in numerous peer reviewed publications, conference presentations, plenary lectures, international courses, and awards.


At the DSI, we apply these principles to maximize the learning from any investigation throughout the services we offer:




At the Davis Sensory Institute, we regularly conduct consumer Central Location Tests in our specifically designed sensory evaluation booths. This provides controlled testing conditions resulting in bias-free respondent opinions. Our commercial kitchen allows us to handle a wide variety of food-related projects.




Using our consumer database, the Davis Sensory Institute recruits respondents to evaluate test products under realistic testing conditions. Products can be picked-up by the respondents at the DSI, or samples can be shipped to their location. While we can use both approaches, we prefer meeting the respondents at least once to establish rapport and explain the experimental procedure, which in turn lowers attrition and enhances the quality of the data collected.




The Davis Sensory Institute is experienced in selecting, training, and retaining subjects for our descriptive analysis panels. Descriptive panels can be established at the DSI, with training and product evaluations taking place at our facility.  In particular, we have developed a unique expertise for Home Use Descriptive analysis panels. This has proven especially valuable for personal care products, where sample evaluations that can differ greatly between home and laboratory conditions (e.g., shampoo, night cream, body wash, shaving, etc.).




We routinely run focus groups during food, beverage and personal care studies. Our experienced moderators and transcription staff provide a precise and efficient qualitative access to understanding consumers' likes, dislikes, needs and opinions on a variety of products.




Discrimination testing constitutes more than half of many companies' sensory product research. It addresses a wide range of issues such as ingredient modification, supplier changes, new federal or state regulations, competitive benchmarking, shelf-life, etc.


Over many years of academic and applied research, the DSI has developed an advanced expertise in the field of discrimination testing. We have, for example, been involved in the development of the tetrad method and established the importance of Thurstonian modeling.


Using our knowledge and experience, we can make expert recommendations regarding methodology, power and samples size, maximizing the reliability of 'similarity or difference' conclusions reached during discrimination testing.




The DSI is constantly looking to discover the best methods to optimize consumer research and enhance experimental design.




Apart from its intensive internal training, the Davis Sensory Institute also offers short courses open to the public taught by Dr. Michael O'Mahony.  


In 2018, Dr. O’Mahony gave short courses in Paris, Bangkok and Mexico City. Bookings for 2019 are being arranged. So far Dr. O’Mahony has given a short course in January in Veracruz, Mexico and is booked for another in July in San José, Costa Rica.


Please contact us for more information on the next available courses at DSI.