The LSU Sensory Services Lab has a demonstration kitchen that allows an audience to witness the process behind a company's product. Photos courtesy LSU AgCenter.

From the March issue: ‘Tiger Tasters’ test possible supermarket staples

The LSU Sensory Services Lab is a lot like a scene from the hit TV show “Chopped.” The lab helps companies test and analyze their products through a series of unbiased assessments with a panel of potential consumers who are able to witness the production process and then sample the product themselves. Much like the competitive cooking show, these companies are putting their products on the chopping block.

LSU food science professor, Witoon Prinyawiwatkul, says that companies who notice problems with their products bring them to the lab to be tested by the “Tiger Tasters.” These Tiger Tasters are the problem solvers—they rate the samples on numerous determinants like aroma, overall taste, color and sweetness.

“We can see the reactions of people as they eat,” says Ashley Gutierrez, manager of the lab. The lab boasts a commercial-grade kitchen and a one-way mirror that allows researchers like Gutierrez to observe the genuine reactions of each taster. In exchange for the feedback, the companies financially support the mission of the LSU School of Nutrition and Food Sciences.

Ultimately, the lab hopes to recruit more tasters as well as train their current tasters to measure taste qualities on a more precise scale. So far, the lab has about 600 Tiger Tasters but hopes to increase that number to as many as 5,000. To become a Tiger Taster, fill out an introductory survey at

To learn more about Tiger Tasters and the LSU Sensory Services Lab, check out this story from the March issue of inRegister, on newsstands now.