A Sensory Vocabulary
Your cocoa may have that perfect blend of sweet and smooth, chocolate and vanilla, but how do you describe it?
If you're a sensory professional - and involved in product development or product quality - you can check your descriptions with the new ASTM DS72, Lexicon for Sensory Evaluation: Aroma, Flavor, Texture and Appearance, a software resource with terms and definitions accompanied by product examples.
Panel professionals first generate their own terms and then consult DS72 to arrive at a final lexicon to describe a product and then derive its sensory profile. The references and definitions, in the case of the cocoa, will describe that sweet, smooth, chocolate/vanilla taste and texture, and more, which provides a basis to compare a new cocoa with existing products and to determine whether the test beverage meets the targeted result.
"You will be able to intercompare all of those products in a documented, scientific, nonsubjective way," says Gail Vance Civille, president of Sensory Spectrum in New Providence, N.J., and a longtime member of ASTM International Committee E18 on Sensory Evaluation. "This is a dictionary," she says of DS72. "It is there to help you…to describe products either in the product development process or in the quality assessment process."
Civille co-edited the updated work, which merges two previous lexicons, one on aroma and flavor, and the other on texture and appearance. Co-editors are Brenda G. Lyon, U.S. Department of Agriculture\; Kathleen P. Rutledge, 21st Sensory Inc., Bartlesville, Okla.\; and Nicole Butkiewicz, Sensory Spectrum, New Providence, N.J.
Of the work to produce the new combined lexicon, Butkiewicz, senior technology coordinator at Sensory Spectrum, says, "We had professionals from multidisciplinary fields and from different product categories working through the attributes. Every single attribute was reviewed by multiple people for a particular product category."
DS72 consists of the CD along with installation directions and guides that describe the software's organization and use. The software enables the user to enter and save their panel's terms as well as to work with the terms in the lexicon itself. The process explains the steps of establishing a frame of reference\; terminology development\; choosing references from the lexicon, including the use of examples\; and developing descriptors.
However a panel profiles the cocoa, its members can also use the lexicon to develop and define terms describing tactile and visual attributes of foods, plus personal care products, fabrics, household cleaners and more.