The future of rapid methodologies for sensory characterization
Several novel methodologies for sensory characterization have emerged in the last years, motivated by the need to gather product descriptions directly from consumers and to reduce the time and resources required for the implementation of descriptive analysis with trained assessors. These novel descriptive methodologies are simple, flexible and rapid alternatives for sensory characterization with trained and untrained assessors and have been reported to provide both valid and reliable information. Although they cannot be regarded as a replacement for classical descriptive analysis, as this is always more accurate and “absolute”, novel methodologies have been reported to provide similar information in several product categories.
Despite their growing popularity, these methodologies have been used for a relatively short period of time and in a relatively small number of applications, which makes it necessary to develop guidelines for best practice. Although methodological research is being conducted, there is still a good deal of research to be carried out in this field, in terms of the practical aspects of the implementation of some of the methods, the statistical robustness and validity of the results.
In this context, the present workshop aims at shedding light into the gaps in knowledge on rapid methodologies for sensory characterization by providing critical comparison with traditional descriptive analysis, suggesting general recommendations for their application, discussing the remaining challenges, but also looking into what extra information could be obtained with them. A range of speakers with extensive experience in these methods will discuss several methodological aspects of projective mapping, sorting, check-all-that-apply questions, flash profiling and polarized sensory positioning.
Discussions would be focused around which method is best for what applications (particularly for complex products), validity checks still needed (reliability, stability, repeatability), statistical tools that could be best suited for some purposes, and would also contribute to better understanding what underlies some of the methods from a consumer perspective. One of the main questions that the workshop will try to answer is: what are we still missing?
Varela, P., Ares, G., Næs, T., Castura, J. C., Delarue, J., Heymann, H., & Jaeger, S. (2014). The future of rapid methodologies for sensory characterization. Sixth European Conference on Sensory and Consumer Research. 7-10 September. Copenhagen, Denmark.