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24th March 2021  Editorial by: newprotein staff writer

Precise, Accurate Instrument Sensory Analysis Augments Human Testing

With 27 years of experience in electronic sensory analysis, Alpha MOS offers a range of solutions for new product development teams as well as for routine quality control applications. Here we speak to Ian Haynes, General Manager at Alpha MOS, North America, who explains the benefits of using electronic instruments, including how the reliability of instruments allows you to control, assess and predict the characteristics of your products. Guarantee the quality and conformity to your consumers thanks to the precision and the objectivity of instrument based organoleptic tests.

NP: What do the Alpha MOS sensory analysis instruments measure?
Ian: Our range includes the Heracles NEO, an electronic nose that is dedicated to aroma characterizations of a product at all stages of production. The Astree electronic tongue, an instrument dedicated to the analysis of the taste of a product and the Iris visual analyzer which can give a detailed measurement of the colors and shapes of a product.

NP: How complex is sample preparation?
Ian: Sample preparation is actually quite fast and simple. The preparation will vary depending on the types of product and the objectives of the assessment. There is some preparation variation between the different instruments, but all are fast and simple.

NP: Can the readouts relate to those results a human tester would deliver?
Ian: Yes, many clients combine human sensory panels with our instruments to bring science to sensory analysis. This can be in the form of establishing the desired sensory profile with a human panel and then benchmarking that profile with an instrument. The instruments sensory profile can also be used to calibrate human panels to ensure consistency of results and panels.

NP: What are the advantages of using instruments?
Ian: The instruments provide fast and reliable results, which are complementary science-based results to human sensory testers. The instruments give more bandwidth, and they can deliver results within minutes that can be compared with the work of 10-20 human testers with greater reliability.

NP: At what stages in a products life cycle are electronic analyses best suited?
Ian: The instruments can be used at different stages in a product lifecycle, from R&D, benchmarking products, QA of raw materials, product batch QC and validation of claims.

NP: Are there any key applications where these have been really successful?
Ian: Within the food industry and allied industries, the instruments have been successfully used in beverages, wine, coffee, meats, pet food, herbs & spices, packaging and many other client-specific applications. From making sure food raw material is unadulterated, to ensuring the sensory quality of a ready-to-eat meal or energy drink, we contribute at all steps of our client’s processes.

NP: How does the implementation process usually work?
Ian: Many clients, after initial discussions, move to a Proof of Concept Study. This demonstrates that the instruments will work for the product types and the attributes and parameters clients want to measure. Alpha MOS can also do dedicated studies based on client’s specific needs ranging from flavor profiles, oxidation, shelf-life and troubleshooting.

NP: How do you see sensory analysis moving forward in the future?
Ian: Speed and accuracy will still be paramount with drivers for mobility with hand-held devices and the ability to aggregate data from multiple sources to contribute to predictive analytics and risk management.

Alpha MOS Range of Electronic Instruments



Heracles NEO - an electronic nose for:

  • Odor and aroma profiling
  • Off odor detection
  • Sensory and chemical characterization
  • On-site odor measurement


Astree - an electronic tongue for:

  • Taste profiling
  • Taste masking efficiency testing
  • Ranking on taste attribute intensity


Iris - an electronic eye for:

  • Visual profiling
  • Color and shape analysis


If you would like to find out more about how electronic instruments can improve your organoleptic testing, use the 'request information' below to connect to Alpha MOS.



Date Published: 24th March 2021

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