MANUAL Published: 24 March 2020

Chapter 2 | Discrimination Test Methods


Discrimination or difference tests are used to determine whether a perceptible sensory difference exists among samples. Detectible differences may occur when product characteristics or product quality are changed by ingredient or flavor reformulations or substitutions, processing or packaging changes, handling, storage, or sample age. When differences are large and obvious, there is no need for a test. But when product differences may be perceptible to some, but not necessarily apparent to all, there may be a need to answer the question of whether or not the two products are sensorily different. Sometimes, the project stakeholders hope the two products are different, such as with a planned improvement in a product versus the original; other times, the project stakeholders hope that the two products are not perceptibly different, such as with a change to a less costly ingredient or flavor or when trying to match the paint on a car door to the rest of the automobile after an accident. Discrimination tests will be used to establish whether or not there are differences. According to Ennis (1993), “In many applications involving product or process changes, difference testing is the most appropriate mechanism for answering questions concerning product substitutability.” Discrimination tests also are used to evaluate the discrimination ability of individuals to various stimuli for their selection to trained analytical panels (e.g., descriptive panels or quality control panels).

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Ojeh, Sola
Sensient Flavors and Fragrances Group, IL, US
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Developed by Committee: E18
Pages: 25–49
DOI: 10.1520/MNL2620170011
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-7121-3
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-7120-6