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AURI Debuts Food Product Evaluation and Sensory Laboratory

ST. PAUL, Minn. (Nov. 19, 2019) – The Agriculture Utilization Research Institute (AURI) and Southwest Minnesota State University (SMSU) are proud to announce the opening of a new Food Product Evaluation and Sensory Laboratory.

Located on the campus of SMSU in Marshall, Minn, the custom-built facility is the result of a long-standing partnership between the two organizations. It is equipped with state-of-the-art technology and infrastructure that will help AURI’s clients better assess the sensory characteristics of food products as well as be an educational tool for SMSU’s Culinology students.

Users will have access to many services including product experience testing for market readiness, qualitative consumer feedback, basic discrimination testing, product attribute optimization, and more. The lab includes a testing room with nine sensory isolated evaluation booths, a prep room to facilitate on-site preparation, and conference room that provides a focus group setting for up to eight panelists. Furthermore, data collection equipment allows users to record, input and conduct statistical analysis to adjust their products to better reflect consumer preferences.

In addition to the commercial function, the Food Product Evaluation and Sensory Laboratory is an educational resource. The collaboration between AURI and SMSU provides both organizations access to the lab. The facility is an integral resource for SMSU’s Culinology department and a recruitment tool to bring new students to the field.

To celebrate the opening of the sensory lab, AURI and SMSU will host an open house at 4:30 p.m. November 20, 2019 at the facility.  The event is open to the media.

The schedule of events is below:

  • 4:30-4:45 p.m.: Lab Tours AURI Labs — Science and Technology Building
  • 4:45-5:15 p.m.: Food Product Evaluation and Sensory Lab Tour
  • 5:15-6:15 p.m.: Formal Program
    • Welcome
    • Comments from State Senator Gary Dahms and State Representative Chris Swedzinski
    • Description of Facility Uses
    • Description of Student Experiences
    • Closing
  • 6:15-6:45 p.m.: Networking

“We are excited to debut this new Food Product Evaluation and Sensory Laboratory. Bringing this idea to reality took the collaboration of the Minnesota legislature, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, Southwest Minnesota State University, and AURI,” said Shannon Schlecht, AURI’s Executive Director. “This service was something our clients were asking for and we are pleased to be able to provide the capabilities. Optimizing taste, feel and smell is essential through this new resource will help accelerate the successful commercialization of new food products. This lab will help many businesses.

Media Passes

Media are invited to the open house. Contact Erik Evans to request a media pass.

About AURI

The Agricultural Utilization Research Institute’s mission is to foster long-term economic benefit through value-added agricultural products. It accomplishes this by using science and technology to help develop new uses for agricultural products. It partners with businesses and entrepreneurs to generate economic impact in Minnesota communities by helping businesses take advantage of innovative opportunities in four focus areas: bio-based products, renewable energy, coproducts and food. AURI provides a broad range of services, including applied research and development, scientific assistance and a targeted network of resources to develop value-added uses for crops and coproducts.