How to develop the most tasty baked goods?

Sensory Analysis
Consumer Insights

8 Jan 2019

An innovative sensory approach to understanding consumers’ drivers of liking for soft filled buns

The Sensory Full Product approach

In sensory analysis we can investigate very thoroughly the impact of specific ingredients on the texture of a soft bread. Similarly we can also determine how ingredients can impact the flavour and mouthfeel of a cream or fruit filling. This allows us to define the best texture and taste for the soft bread on the one hand, and for the filling on the other hand.  Read more here

However, consumers will eat the finished product composed of the crumb and the filling together. Sometimes, there will also be a glaze covering the product. The real sensory experience of the consumer is thus much more complex to analyze and understand. 


The different components of the product (ie the bread crumb and the filling) interact and create new sensations. The best combination of components might then be different from the addition of the single “best” soft bread and “best” filling.

Our Sensory Full Product approach focuses on the evaluation of combinations of components like the bread crumb, the filling and the glaze. It allows to clarify the impact of combining ingredients on consumers’ preferences for bakery and patisserie products.

How to create the perfect soft buns with fruit filling

The Full Product Approach is based on the Preference Mapping methodology

First, we created 6 different filled buns, using the same recipe, and combining 2 bread improvers: Soft’r Melting (longer shelf-life improver) & Soft’r Alpaga (shorter shelf life improver); and 3 types of Vivafil cherry fillings with different water activities (Aw): high, medium and low.

The same glaze was applied on all buns. Water activity in a baked product is related to the water content. If a product is kept below a certain water activity, then mold growth is inhibited. This results in a longer shelf life. 


Our internal sensory expert judges described and quantified the sensory differences in taste and texture perceived between these 6 filled buns after 8 days shelf-life. The results of this evaluation are visualized on a sensory mapping. We can see that both the type of filling and the type of improver have an impact on the perception of the filled buns. Also, we notice that the more soft and moist the buns are perceived, the more intense their fruity flavour is perceived. 

The same 6 filled buns were evaluated by Belgian consumers, who were asked to give an overall liking score to each product. When combining the consumer liking data with the expert sensory data, we obtain a preference map. It shows which sensations correspond to consumers’ drivers of liking. A product in the red zone is preferred by a higher proportion of consumers, whereas a product in the blue zone is preferred by a lower proportion of consumers. 

The results show that consumers’ prefer a soft filled bun with good softness and moistness (but not too soft and moist) and strong fruity flavour. For this specific consumers’ segment, the best combination of components would be Soft’r Alpaga with high water activity filling. 

More information?

Our Sensory Full Product approach is a very powerful methodology allowing to uncover consumers’ drivers of liking for complex bakery or patisserie products.

At Puratos we extend this approach to all possible combinations of elements in a product eg inclusions, layers, decorations,… in order to continuously optimized our new developments in a consumer-oriented approach.

Interested in finding out more about our sensory analysis expertise?

Contact your Puratos local representative to fix a meeting during which we will consider how we can help you be even more successful with your business.