Temporal attribute discrimination
Analytical sensory profiles are used to guide new product development, match products, and determine the effect of raw material and process changes. Occasionally, products that are not significantly different in sensory profile are found to differ significantly in discrimination tests. Although the magnitude of an attribute may not be significantly different, the time or order of perception of that attribute may differ between products. The objective of this study was to collect and analyze the order or time of perception of sensory attributes as a method for improved sensory evaluation of products.
Salad dressing model systems were chosen to deliver the four basic tastes: sweet, sour, salt and bitter, as well as garlic flavor. The same level of each attribute was controlled by using minor changes in formulation. Pairs of products were made that did not different in their profile, but were significantly different in discrimination.
Flavour release was altered through a change in the hydrophilic-lipophilic balance by reduction of oil level in the salad dressings. The reduction of oil in the dressing caused the garlic and bitterness to be perceived earlier. In a similar manner, the increase of viscosity using hydrocolloids created a measurable delay in the release of all attributes.
Twelve panels were conducted using eight trained panellists to test the products both conventionally and using the experimental approach. Statistical analysis demonstrated a significant Attribute by Sample, interaction showing that the sequence truly differed.
These models demonstrated two temporal release patterns: shuffle and shift. Shuffle is the rearrangement of the order of release of each attribute. Shift describes the delay of attributes with no change in their order.
Generalization of this experimental method revealed a large panellist variance due to the complexity of the physical task, making routine application impractical.
Findlay, C.J. (2000). Temporal attribute discrimination. In: The Institute of Food Technologists Annual Meeting + Food Expo 2000. Technical program: Sensory Evaluation. June 10-14, Dallas, TX, USA. (Oral).
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