Your red, my orange - ISO standard for sensory assessment of colours
Whether we argue that an object is purple instead blue, or green instead of yellow, may depend on the time of day, the light source and surrounding environment or our individual colour vision. This can be problematic for industry when comparing products through sensory analysis. An ISO standard, ISO 11037:2011, Sensory analysis – Guidelines for sensory assessment of the colour of products, reduces this complexity by ensuring that sensory colour assessments are conducted under similar conditions and results are communicated in a consistent manner.
Sensory analysis applies sight, smell, taste, touch and hearing to test and compare consumer products. Industries such as food, cosmetics, fragrances or textiles, use it to evaluate new and established products, ensure that quality is maintained, assess shelf life, improve existing products and develop new ones. This second edition of ISO 11037 which updates and improves on the original published in 1999, further promotes global consistency in a field which must often rely on the subjective experience of observers.
“We have all noticed how the way we perceive colours changes during the day, as light and our surroundings vary. ISO 11037 is a powerful tool for industry because it enables colour comparisons of products assessed anywhere in the world by different observers,” says Huguette Nicod, Chair of the technical subcommittee that developed the standard.
The procedures specified are applicable to solid, semi-solid, powder and liquid products, which can be opaque, translucent, cloudy or transparent in nature, as well as matt or glossy. General information is given about viewing and lighting conditions to be used in situations such as difference testing, profile analysis, grading methods, performed by panels or by individual experts.
ISO 11037:2011, Sensory analysis – Guidelines for sensory assessment of the colour of products, was developed by ISO technical committee ISO/TC 34, Food products, subcommittee SC 12, Sensory analysis. It costs 92 Swiss francs and is available from ISO national member institutes (see the complete list with contact details) and from ISO Central Secretariat through the ISO Store.