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January/February 2011
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A proposed standard on sampling of product for evaluation will be applicable to cheese as well as other products.

Sampling of Product

Product selection is an important, though sometimes neglected, part of the consumer testing process. A proposed new ASTM standard will offer guidelines to bring clarity to this process.

The proposed standard, WK30844, Guide for Sampling of Product for Evaluation, is being developed by Subcommittee E18.04 on Fundamentals of Sensory, part of ASTM International Committee E18 on Sensory Evaluation.

“Product selection is more often than not a convenient sample of what is available when a consumer test is scheduled,” says Julie Boutaghou, owner, Boutaghou LLC, and an E18 member. “Often, time for proper product selection is not incorporated into project timelines while time for respondent selection is routinely factored into timelines.”

Boutaghou notes that some product categories have a natural variation in the final product. In projects where a formula change is to be made, such as product improvement or alternate ingredient approval, the change may be very close to the amount of natural variation in the product.

“It will be helpful for sensory scientists to have a clearly written document to bring the issue of product sampling forward to both R&D and marketing in order to bring attention to an important aspect of product testing,” notes Boutaghou.

Boutaghou says participation in the development of WK30844 from all interested parties is welcome.

“While we have quite a few task group members, we are in need of individuals experienced in many different product disciplines in order to make the proposed standard widely applicable,” says Boutaghou. “We are interested in consumer products for which the variables may not be known to the current task group members.” The task group is particularly interested in suggestions for products that should be addressed by WK30844.

CONTACT

Technical Information: Julie Boutaghou, Boutaghou LLC, North Oaks, Minn.

Phone: 651-788-5550

ASTM Staff: Scott Orthey

Phone: 610-832-9730