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Sensory analysis of flavours

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Understanding Natural Flavors


Sensory analysis may be defined as the measurement of both the flavour and the assessor’s characteristics using human senses. The quality of flavours and other items depends on two sources of variables, namely the flavour and its judge. Flavours vary in composition, whereas judges vary in sensitivity, expectations, experiences and actual disposition. A major factor in sensory analysis is hedonism. Hedonic response affects to a great degree the evaluation of parameters of luxury and stimulant foods. Visual, tactile, audible and chemical stimuli are perceived with highly specific receptor cells of different organs, although independent use of human senses is difficult. A complex stimulation of all chemosensory systems is called flavour, because the brain blends all the information to a single perceptual gestalt.

Sensory analysis starts with a clear analytical question. The information content and significance level of the results may be limited by the cost of the analyses. Practicable sensory measurements may be classified as yes/no decisions, ranking, classifying, scoring, intensity measurement and verbal analysis. Verbal analysis is the most complex, controversal, demanding and rewarding sensory work. Sensory analysis uses scales based on human characteristics. Humans respond more exponentially than linearly to sensory stimuli. Sensory analysis requires a skilled analyst, available assessors, scales adapted to human abilities, a suitable method and a controlled testing environment. The assessors can be divided into three types: the small expert group, the research panel and the consumer group.

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© 1994 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht

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Dürr, P. (1994). Sensory analysis of flavours. In: Piggott, J.R., Paterson, A. (eds) Understanding Natural Flavors. Springer, Boston, MA.

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