Feedback from Milk Spectra Community Experiment and Taste Test

Hello Greg, OurSci, and all on the Forum!

I ran two milk spectra experiments recently and ran taste tests with 2 different groups of people. Firstly: people were super curious about it and really enjoyed doing it. Compiled are some questions, suggestions, and general feedback from this experience. I hope it’s helpful!

  1. I purchased a conventional whole, organic whole, and grass-fed whole. The latter two were “ultra-pasteurized” and the conventional was “pasteurized.” The Collect app asked for this info and I put it in, but it might be good in the instructions to mention whether or not the pasteurization needs to be consistent across the samples. I aimed for consistency but could not find a conventional that was “ultra-pasteurized” – guessing it’s something in the industry that I don’t know about.

  2. When I submitted data for each sample, there was field that said “blank field” located or something like that. It threw me at first because I thought I had done something wrong and wasn’t sure if I should re-do it (which I did at first but then got the same result). Might be worth mentioning this can happen and that the test was still successful (assuming it is).

  3. As the project organizer, I received a lot of questions I did not know the answers to. I think providing dev kit recipients with some FAQs would be great as the community experiment is great not only for the science but for the promotion of the RFC and BFA… not only to the recipient of the dev kit but also for any audience of taste-testers they work with. The dev kit works as brand ambassadors in this way. For example, I ran the first round of taste testing with 6 people and the second with 4 people. Multiply that across however many dev kits go out and we’ve got some nice grassroots promotions going on!

Some example questions I got… the one’s about the running of the taste test specifically I put below:

  • What is this all about? I could answer this one :slight_smile:
  • Taste tests seem so subjective, how will the taste test be used in developing the meter?
  • What % of resources of people and finances are going to development of the tool?
  • What we measuring and is there any other way to measure it?
  • Has anyone measured nutrition of crops already? If so, why is this different than that?
  • Is there anyone else trying to measure what we are trying to measure?
  • Are land grant universities involved in this project?
  1. Because I was running large taste tests, instead of inputting everyone’s data right away I input the data of the milk samples and created a chart of everyone’s responses so I could put them in later.

  2. The search function for the store names didn’t work for me… it couldn’t find the stores I was trying to input. It was fine as I just looked up the address’s of the stores but that’s a possible improvement.

  3. The “Milk Metadata Form” from the home page of the app kept crashing at first. I was able to access it from menu (three horizontal lines).

  4. For folks unfamiliar with smart phones and viewing apps on mobile, the process could be confusing. Having screen shots of every step may be helpful. I know there are some in the handbook but they print a bit small.

  5. It could be helpful in the app to have a video containing an overview of the pages/flow for people to review before they do it officially. This would likely eliminate the need of the screen shot idea above. Maybe this already exists somewhere… I admit I did not go to the docs or YouTube channel.

Taste tester comments:

  1. Taste testers wanted to know if there should be a palette cleanser between samples.

  2. Taste testers wanted to know if they could talk to each other about what they thought. I had them write down their opinions before discussion so they wouldn’t sway each other.

  3. Taste testers did not know what “grassiness” mean – providing a definition would be helpful.

  4. One taste testers felt that “sweetness” was a negative, so though she gave the sample a high sweetness rating, she wanted to know that for her it wasn’t a good thing.

  5. One of the milk samples was organic and pasture-raised, but there is no option to select pasture-raised (vs grass-fed) in that selection field.

  6. Some testers wanted to know if the total of their rating (i.e. 1 for sweetness, 2 for richness, 2 for grassiness, and 2 overall) yielded any type of rating outcome?

  7. One taster wanted to know how the fortification in the milk influences this experiment.

Thanks for the great feedback!

I will incorporate as many suggestions as possible into the manual, and we will develop a FAQ’s section to be part of our on-line documentation (which can be more flexible then the handbook).