We’re Now Servicing the Essential Oils Industry

We’re very excited to announce that we have expanded into the essential oils industry. This stems from an informal partnership with the biotechnology experts at SciCorp Laboratories.

Together with SciCorp Laboratories we are offering a highly specialized fingerprinting package that includes chemical and sensory profiling (trained panel and/or consumer panels depending on the requirement). For tea tree oil we have expanded the package to include genotyping, looking at 20 markers, and we’re hoping to expand this capability to other oils soon. Of course, in line with our promise to offer services tailored to our clients’ needs, these analyses are available on an individual basis too.

Why fingerprint your essential oil product?

Your product’s chemical composition is linked to its quality, in terms of efficacy and the sensory experience of the end-user. The product’s chemical composition is one of the best indicators for quality. Due to synergies between compounds, it is only with sensory analysis that you can determine what the end-user will experience when they use your product.

Whether you profile your product to generate a gold standard against which all subsequent batches can be compared or whether you want to see how your product stacks up against the competitor – profiling is the key to a consistently better product.

For tea tree oil breeders we also offer genotyping services. Genotyping is a gateway into predictive breeding which will assist in yield optimization through ensuring that your cutting material is suited to your agricultural environment and that your agricultural processes are suited to the cutting material’s needs for optimal yield.

In short, we want to help essential oil producers to optimize their oils in terms of yield and quality.

Contact us to discuss your essential oil analyses needs.


Published in Wineland Magazine!

Our collaborative article with Stellenbosch University on sensory benchmarking in the wine industry was published in the Jan/Feb edition of Wineland Magazine! Here is the link to the article.

Sensory Benchmarking in the Wine Industry – When, Why, How


Our second article was published in the March edition of Wineland magazine on page 77.

Sensoriese maatstaftoetsing van wyn (Deel 2): Die voor- en nadele van drie geskikte sensoriese metodes. 

The English version can be found on LinkedIn.

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6 Cases in which sensory problem solving was a good idea

Sensory problem solving is our theme for 2020. Entering our third year of business, we’d like to review some of the problems that our clients have brought to our lab.

Bottle variation in the wine industry

We’ve encountered this problem several times. Buyers commented that our clients’ batches showed bottle variation. This is an excellent example of when using an independent service provider is the best bet. Using scientifically sound methodologies, we were able to prove whether the bottle variation existed or not. In one scenario it was a case of switching to a different cork that brought about subtle changes and, in another case, the suspected bottle variation could not be detected at a statistically significant level by our panel. In both cases, empirical evidence was now available to facilitate a discussion between the buyer and the winery.

Mitigating risk in recipe changes

One of our clients had to make a small recipe change for a massive brand. While the change was small, the risk of regular consumers picking up the difference and subsequently switching to another brand was massive. Investing in an independent sensory test is small change relative to the damage that could be done by putting a sub-par or noticeably different product on the market.

Quality control

Another client thought that they detected a defect in one of their batches but couldn’t reach internal consensus. They submitted their samples for independent sensory testing and the results showed that the batch was different from the standard and they were able to make a decision regarding batch recall.

Delivering on a product’s quality promise

A client had a product with a sensory call-out on the label. Some consumers complained that the attribute that was called out was not as prominent in the product as what they were used to. Using a descriptive test comparing three batches we were able to determine whether the intensity of the call-out attribute was strong enough.

Entering a new market

One of our clients developed a product aimed at a market segment that they weren’t playing in at the time. They wanted to make sure that their product delivered on the same level of quality as the main competitors and if not, how they could improve. Using sensory benchmarking, we were able to compare how their prototype fitted into the existing sensory landscape and to provide guidelines for delivering up to expectations.

In a similar situation as the bottle variation example, one of our client’s wanted to solve a dispute between a raw material supplier and a buyer. An independent opinion regarding the acceptability of the raw material was the only way of find a solution to the problem.

We’re excited to see how we can solve your sensory problems this year.


Shaking it up in the dairy industry

Dairy meets alcohol

SenseLab started out in the alcoholic beverage market, so now that we are entrenching ourselves in the dairy industry, dairy innovations inspired by alcoholic drinks are especially exciting to us.

Häagen-Dazs has recently launched a range of alcohol-flavoured ice creams infused with real alcohol (0.5% ABV). Flavours such as Bourbon, Rum, Amaretto, Irish Cream, and Stout are enticing new additions to their existing range and will certainly appeal to adult consumers.

The winner of the 2018 World Dairy Innovation Awards was Amul with its Irish Drink Mocktail. Amul, India’s dairy brand leader, stole the show by producing an Irish Cream inspired milk drink. And the judges were obviously impressed!

SenseLab and the dairy industry

After a jam packed road show showcasing our joint capabilities with Consumers In Focus, we have had dairy projects streaming in at a rapid pace. It is so exciting to know that dairy companies in South Africa are investing in research to develop delicious new products as well as entrench their leadership with existing products and brands.

Our trained panel is doing a brilliant job in defining a lexicon for the appearance, smell, flavour, taste and mouthfeel of the dairy products that we’re working on as well as measuring the intensity of these attributes in our test products. And as an added bonus, it’s much more pleasant to taste sweet dairy products early in the morning as opposed to tannic red wines.

I’m excited about the value that we are adding to the dairy industry and I’m convinced that we will soon be seeing loads of new innovative products in this segment as a result of investing in SenseLab’s proprietary methodologies.

Join the conversation

If you have an exciting new idea for a dairy product innovation, contact us to find out how we can help with your R&D with our new found passion for the dairy industry.





We Now Provide Tasting Notes for Boutique Cellars

Sensory profiling with a trained panel can be very expensive, even when using cost-saving rapid sensory profiling methods. More often than not, boutique wineries simply do not have the research budget to justify the sensory profiling of their product with a trained panel.

We want to help everyone in the wine industry

However, we aim to include everyone in the wine industry here at SenseLab, and have now launched a tasting note service where our clients’ products are tasted by a product expert with the option of a preference ranking.

Of course, using an individual instead of a trained panel means that the results can not be used in any form of statistical testing, but as the samples are tasted blind, our pro-taster’s rich vocabulary and objectivity provides an independent view on our client’s wines.

We already have happy return customers who have put their trust in our expertise for notes on fining trials, precision viticulture trials and more.

How does it work?

Wines can be submitted and delivered to SenseLab at a cost of R100 per wine. Results can be expected within two working days. Prior arrangement is critical.

Feel free to contact us if you want to learn more about this service and how it can benefit your boutique winemaking operation.