Experimental consideration for the use of Check-All-That-Apply (CATA) questions to describe the sensory properties of orange juices

Sara King/ July 26, 2009/ Poster/ 0 comments

Check-all-that-apply (CATA) questions have been used in consumer studies to determine key sensory attributes characterizing a specific product. CATA has the particularity of assessing perceived product attributes without requiring scaling. The objective was to determine the effects of the number and order of the choices in CATA questions on attribute selection and consumer response time.

Ten commercial orange juices (OJ) were presented to 106 consumers. The tests were conducted over two weeks in two sessions for each week. Consumers were given CATA questions to describe appearance, flavor and texture each with 5, 27, and 11 descriptors, respectively. This allowed the investigation of response time as a function of number of choices. Effects of choices presentation order (alphabetical for week1 and Williams design for week2) on the OJ sensory descriptions were also examined. The study was designed, organized and administered using Compusense® at-hand (Compusense Inc., Guelph, Canada).

Consumer response time revealed that for the William design presentation order of choices, consumers took in average 4.54, 5.00 and 1.69 seconds more to answer CATA questions pertaining to appearance, flavor and texture attributes, respectively. However, product descriptions showed no significant differences between the designed and alphabetical presentations. Consumer response time was also investigated as a function of sample presentation order (Fig. 1). Not surprisingly, response time for CATA questions decreased as a function of sample presentation position within a session, showing the same effect on day2 of each week. Presentation position also had an impact on the number of choices made. The average number of descriptors chosen for flavor increased from 4.2 for the first sample tested to 4.8 for the 5th sample tested during week1/session1.

In conclusion, the time taken by consumers to answer CATA questions is impacted by individual variations and the order of the response options are presented in. However, overall product descriptions were not impacted by CATA descriptors presentation order.

Meullenet, J.-F., Findlay, C.J., Tubbs, J.K., Laird, M., Kuttappan, V.A., Tokar, T., Over, K., & Lee, Y.S. (2009). Experimental consideration for the use of check-all-that-apply (CATA) questions to describe the sensory properties of orange juices. In: 8th Pangborn Sensory Science Symposium. July 26-30, Florence, Italy.

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