Sainsbury’s is giving its professional taste testers a break from eating dogs’ dinners with new technology that measures the quality of petfood.
The supermarket is trialling an ‘electronic tongue’ to taste petfood, which it claims can measure differences as subtle as 0.03g more salt per 100g and aftertaste.
The machine’s sensors are designed to analyse the same flavours as the tongue of a cat or dog, measuring the strength of salt, sourness, bitterness and umami (savoury taste) in the food.
The sensors send a signal to a connected computer that translates the information into an “unbiased” taste profile that should reflect the preferences of pets.
It may sound like a barking idea, but Sainsbury’s said the technology had been rigorously tested. The ‘electronic tongue’ was first developed by a Japanese technology company 22 years ago and the model has undergone four changes before being trialled by the supermarket today.
Juliette Jahaj, head of analytical testing at Sainsbury’s, said the technology would save professional testers the “fairly unpleasant job” of sampling petfood and ensure quality. “We can ensure our petfood is consistently being produced to the recipes that dogs and cats love,” she said.