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Temporal Methods

A proposed new ASTM standard will provide guidance to sensory evaluation researchers who are studying the temporal sensory properties of consumer products. WK41798, Guide for Temporal Methods, is being developed by Subcommittee E18.03 on Sensory Theory and Statistics, part of ASTM International Committee E18 on Sensory Evaluation.

Chris Findlay, Ph.D., chairman, Compusense, and an E18 member, says that there has been an increasing interest in the temporal sensory properties of many consumer products. Where a single point in time descriptive analysis provides the intensities of sensory attributes, it is not unusual to have two products that are not statistically different in their profile; however, they may be easy to discriminate as different because of attributes that appear at different times. WK41798 will attempt to review the various methods currently being used to understand a temporal experience.

“In practice, the proposed standard will guide researchers to select the best tool to answer their sensory questions,” says Findlay. “Consumers will recognize claims about ‘longer lasting flavor’ or ‘no unpleasant aftertaste,’ or even the intriguing wine back labels that say ‘cherry notes with a hint of vanilla and a linger finish of black pepper.’ Temporal methods can actually measure these perceptions and provide a more objective measure of consumer experience, not just one person’s opinion.”

According to Findlay, awareness of temporal methods is important when discussing candy products that morph from one taste to another while being eaten, as well as snacks with complex textures that start out crispy and crunchy, eventually becoming smooth and chewy.

Findlay notes that researchers in consumer products will be the most likely users of WK41798 once it has been approved. As an example, Findlay says, “The substitution of high intensity natural sweeteners for sugar requires a complete understanding of the temporal effect on a finished product,” says Findlay.

All interested parties are invited to participate in the ongoing development of WK41798.

CONTACT Technical Information: Christopher J. Findlay, Ph.D., Compusense • Guelph, Ontario, Canada • Phone: +1 519-836-9993 | ASTM Staff: Scott Orthey • Phone: 610-832-9730 | Upcoming Meeting: April 7-10 • April Committee Week • Toronto, Ontario, Canada

This article appears in the issue of Standardization News.