The present study compares three profiling methods based on consumer perceptions in their ability to discriminate and describe eight beers. Consumers (N=135) evaluated eight different beers using Check-All-That-Apply (CATA) methodology in two variations, with (n=63) and without (n=73) rating the intensity of the checked descriptors. With CATA, consumers rated 38 descriptors grouped in 7 overall categories (berries, floral, hoppy, nutty, roasted, spicy/herbal and woody). Additionally 40 of the consumers evaluated the same samples by partial Napping® followed by Ultra Flash Profiling (UFP). ANOVA- and Discriminant Partial Least Square Regression (A-PLSR, D-PLSR) were used to evaluate the discriminative ability of the methods and descriptors. A-PLSR results showed that all samples were perceived as different in all three methods, whereas D-PLSR showed that all three methods had similar numbers of discriminating descriptors. For the two CATA variants, 29 and 24 descriptors for without and with rating intensity were significant, for Napping/UFP the number was 26. Multiple Factor Analysis was used to derive an overall product map and to compare it to product configurations from individual methods. Both qualitative and quantitative analysis (comparison of RV coefficients of the MFA configurations) revealed a very high agreement of the three methods in terms of perceived product differences. RV coefficients were used to compare sample configurations obtained in the three descriptive methods. For all comparisons the RV coefficients varied between 0.90 and 0.97, indicating a very high similarity between all three methods. These results show that the precision and reproducibility of sensory information obtained by consumers by CATA is comparable to that of Napping. The choice of methodology for consumer descriptive methods should then be based on whether it is desired to have consumers articulate their own perception of descriptors, or if it sufficient to present them to an existing vocabulary. Napping is slower and more laborious, and better for explorative studies with smaller number of consumers whereas, CATA is faster, less labor-intensive and thus more suitable for larger groups of consumers.
Food Quality and Preference, 2014, Vol 32, Issue Part B, p. 160-166