Sensory: Cooking Sauce

In 2001, MMR and our client created an optimal profile for their cooking sauce in the UK. This led to a strong increase in repeat sales, and the brand became market leader for the category.

However  several years later, it was apparent that the main competitors had started to alter their sauce recipes too. Because of this, and the fact that consumer tastes could have changed in the years since the last model was created, our client decided that a new model was necessary.


29 products (including prototypes, current products and competitor products) were screened by sensory experts with the 11 that best represented the sensory space taken forward to consumer testing. The data was modelled, enabling MMR to identify three clear taste preference segments.


One of the prototype formulations (with more visible, chunky food pieces) appealed to the two largest groups, which led to a recommendation to progress this recipe, however this was not commercially viable.

Client action

An alternative recommendation gave specific optimization guidance for the current sauce product, and new prototypes were developed on this basis. These were submitted to sensory profiling, run back through the model and the one with the best predicted mean score was selected for validation testing.


The prototype formula was submitted to head-to-head consumer testing against the current product. It significantly outperformed Current on a number of measures (even amongst existing users!) and went on to be launched very successfully.

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