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Penalty analysis based on CATA questions to identify drivers of liking

and directions for product reformulation


Gastn Ares
a,
, Cecilia Dauber
a
, Elisa Fernndez
a
, Ana Gimnez
a
, Paula Varela
b
a
Departamento de Ciencia y Tecnologa de Alimentos, Facultad de Qumica, Universidad de la Repblica, General Flores 2124, CP 11800, Montevideo, Uruguay
b
Instituto de Agroqumica y Tecnologa de Alimentos, Avda. Agustn Escardino 7, 46980 Paterna, Valencia, Spain
a r t i c l e i n f o
Article history:
Received 28 August 2012
Received in revised form 27 March 2013
Accepted 27 May 2013
Available online xxxx
Keywords:
CATA
Apples
Yogurt
Consumer studies
Product optimization
a b s t r a c t
One of the most important steps of new product development process is product optimization, which
aims at identifying consumers ideal products and directions for product reformulation. The present work
proposes the application of a penalty analysis based on consumer responses to CATA questions to identify
drivers of liking and directions for product reformulation. Two studies were conducted in which 74 and
119 consumers evaluated a set of samples (5 apples and 8 yogurts) using a check-all-that-apply question
related to sensory characteristics and were also asked to check all the terms they considered appropriate
to describe their ideal product. Data were analyzed by counting the number of consumers who did not
check an attribute as they did for their ideal product, and its associated mean drop. A dummy variable
transformation approach was proposed to make linear regression models between CATA terms and over-
all liking scores using Partial Least Squares (PLS). Juiciness, sweetness, apple avor, rmness and crispi-
ness were the most relevant attributes for consumers in the apple study. Meanwhile, in the yogurt study
smoothness, homogeneity and creaminess were the main drivers of liking and were responsible for the
highest penalization on overall liking (more than 1 in the 9-point hedonic scale). PLS regression enabled
the identication of the attributes which deviation from the ideal caused a signicant decrease in overall
liking. Penalty analysis on CATA questions proved to be a simple and useful approach to identify drivers
of liking and directions for improving the products in both studies. Advantages and disadvantages of this
approach are discussed, as well as directions for further research.
2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
1. Introduction
New product development has been regarded as a strategy for
gaining competitive advantage and long-term nancial success
(Costa & Jongen, 2006). The implementation of a market-orienta-
tion and consumer-driven approach has been recognized as the
best way to develop successful products (Grunert, Baadsgaard,
Larsen, & Madsen, 1996; Stewart-Knox & Mitchell, 2003). The main
stages of a consumer-driven new product development process
are: identication of consumer needs, development of an idea to
address those needs, product design to substantiate the idea and
the products market introduction (Urban & Hauser, 1993). Within
product design, one key step is the selection of a product formula-
tion that is aligned as much as possible with consumer sensory
preferences (van Kleef, van Trijp, & Luning, 2006). In this context,
one of the main challenges for Sensory and Consumer Science is
to provide actionable information for making specic changes in
product formulation, and not just product descriptions (Moskowitz
& Hartmann, 2008).
Over the years, many strategies have been used in new product
development to identify the sensory attributes that drive con-
sumer preferences and the characteristics of the ideal product,
i.e. the product that maximize consumer liking (Lagrange &
Norback, 1987). A popular approach has been the application of
preference mapping, which consists of a group of techniques that
are able to relate consumer liking scores of a large set of products
with their sensory characteristics as evaluated by a trained asses-
sor panel (van Kleef et al., 2006). Considering the time and re-
sources associated with creating and training trained assessor
panels, particularly for specic applications during new product
development, consumer-based sensory characterization has gained
popularity in the last decade (Varela & Ares, 2012). Moreover,
trained assessors may describe the product differently to consum-
ers and/or evaluate attributes that may be irrelevant for consum-
ers, consumer-driven sensory characterization of products could
have greater external validity (ten Kleij & Musters, 2003). Thus,
product optimization is increasingly being performed by asking
consumers to describe the sensory characteristics of food products.
Just-about-right (JAR) scales have been one of the rst and sim-
plest consumer-based approaches to get information about the
optimum intensity of sensory attributes (Popper & Kroll, 2005).
0950-3293/$ - see front matter 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.foodqual.2013.05.014

Corresponding author. Tel.: +598 29248003.


E-mail address: gares@fq.edu.uy (G. Ares).
Food Quality and Preference xxx (2013) xxxxxx
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Please cite this article in press as: Ares, G., et al. Penalty analysis based on CATA questions to identify drivers of liking and directions for product refor-
mulation. Food Quality and Preference (2013), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.foodqual.2013.05.014
In this approach consumers are asked to evaluate a set of attributes
as deviations from their ideal, by indicating if its intensity is too
strong, too weak or just-about-right (Lawless & Heymann, 2010).
Penalty analysis on data from JAR has been used to identify the
sensory attributes that have the largest inuence on consumer lik-
ing and to identify directions for product reformulation (Plaehn &
Horne, 2008). As an alternative, Xiong and Meullenet (2006) intro-
duced a partial least squares (PLS) regression approach to study the
relative inuence of attributes on consumer liking. Penalty analysis
on data from JAR scales enables the identication of the products
which are closer to the ideal, the direction in which an attribute
should be changed if it is not in its optimum or JAR level and
how much liking is affected when an attribute is not JAR (Lesniaus-
kas & Carr, 2004). Despite their popularity and the fact that they
provide actionable information, the application of JAR scales in
product optimization has raised several concerns. This type of task
could make consumers focus on sensory characteristics that they
would not normally do (Popper & Kroll, 2005), leading to changes
in their hedonic perception (Ares, Barreiro, & Gimnez, 2009; Epler,
Chambers, & Kemp, 1998; Popper, Rosentock, Schraidt, & Kroll,
2004).
Intensity questions have been reported to have a smaller inu-
ence on consumer liking and have been recommended for product
optimization by some authors (Moskowitz, 2001; Popper et al.,
2004). Considering that consumers are able to rate attribute inten-
sity (Husson, Le Dien, & Pags, 2001; Moskowitz, 1996; Worch, L,
& Punter, 2009) and assuming that they have an implicit ideal in
their minds (Moskowitz, 2003), Van Trijp, Punter, Mickartz, and
Kruithof (2007) proposed the Ideal Prole method for identifying
ideal products. In this approach consumers are asked to directly
rate attribute intensity for their ideal product using unstructured
scales. Although this method has been shown to provide accurate
descriptions of ideal products that are similar to the most liked
products (Worch, Dooley, Meullenet, & Punter, 2010; Worch, L,
Punter, & Pags, 2012a, 2012b) and actionable information for
product reformulation similar to that provided by JAR scales, it
could be difcult and not intuitive for consumers to rate the ideal
intensity of a large set of attributes using scales.
Check-all-that-apply (CATA) questions have been gaining popu-
larity for sensory characterization of food products by consumers
due to their simplicity and ease of use (Adams, Williams, Lancaster,
& Foley, 2007; Ares, Barreiro, Deliza, Gimnez, & Gmbaro, 2010;
Ares, Varela, Rado, & Gimnez, 2011a; Dooley, Lee, & Meullenet,
2010; Plaehn, 2012). In this approach, consumers are presented
with a list of terms and are asked to select all the terms that they
consider appropriate for the product. The relevance of each term is
determined by calculating its frequency of use. CATA questions
have been reported to be a quick, simple and easy method to gath-
er information about consumer perception of the sensory charac-
teristics of food products; having a smaller inuence on liking
scores than just-about-right or intensity questions (Adams et al.,
2007).
Plaehn (2012) proposed a penalty analysis on data from CATA
questions to identify the relative importance of emotional attri-
butes on overall liking scores of a set of citrus avored sodas. Con-
sidering that CATA questions have been used to identify the
sensory characteristics of consumer ideal product (Ares, Varela,
Rado, & Gimnez, 2011b; Cowden, Moore, & Vanluer, 2009), a pen-
alty analysis approach could be used to identify how much overall
liking is reduced because of the deviations in sensory proles be-
tween real and ideal products, as detected by a CATA question.
In this context, the aim of the present work was to identify driv-
ers of liking and directions for product reformulation by applying a
penalty analysis based on consumer responses to CATA questions
about a set of samples and their ideal product.
2. Materials and methods
Two studies were carried out in which consumers were asked to
answer a CATA question to describe a set of samples and their ideal
product. In the rst study consumers were asked to score their tex-
ture liking and to describe the texture of eight yogurts formulated
following a factorial design. In the second study consumers evalu-
ated their overall liking of ve commercial apple cultivars and
completed a CATA question which included odor, avor and tex-
ture characteristics. Penalty analysis based on consumer responses
to the products compared to their ideal product was used to iden-
tify drivers of liking and directions for product reformulation.
2.1. Study 1: yogurt study
2.1.1. Samples
Eight yogurts were formulated by modifying the fat content of
the milk, and the concentration of gelatin and modied starch (Na-
tional 465, National Starch, Trombudo Central, Brasil), following a
2
3
full factorial design. These variables have been previously re-
ported to affect yogurt texture (Tamime & Robinson, 1991). Sample
formulations (Table 1) were selected in order to get a set of yogurts
with a range of different texture characteristics, based on previous
studies (Ares et al., 2007), the usual formulation of yogurts com-
mercialized in the Uruguayan market, and results from preliminary
tests.
Yogurts were prepared using 8% commercial sugar and 2% pow-
dered skimmed milk. The rest of the formulation consisted of gel-
atin, modied starch, skimmed pasteurized milk (0.1% fat content)
or whole pasteurized milk (2.6% fat content), as shown in Table 1.
Yogurts were prepared using a Thermomix TM 31 (Vorwerk
Mexico S. de R.L. de C.V., Mexico D.F., Mexico). The solid ingredi-
ents were mixed with the milk, previously heated to 50 C. The dis-
persion was mixed for 1 min under gentle agitation (100 rpm),
heated to 90 C for 5 min and cooled to 42 C. Then, the mix was
placed in glass containers and inoculated with 1 mL of lactic cul-
tures, prepared by dispersing lyophilized cultures (Yo-Mix 205
LYO 250 DCU, Danisco, France) in UHT skimmed milk to a concen-
tration of 250 DCU per liter.
Fermentation was carried out in a temperature controlled oven
at (42 1) C and stopped when the sample reached a pH of 4.55
(after 56 h, depending on the formulation). When the nal pH
was reached, the coagulum was broken by agitating each yogurt
for 1 min using the Thermomix TM 31 at 100 rpm. After that, yo-
gurts were placed in glass containers, cooled under agitation to
25 C in a water bath at 5 C, and then stored refrigerated (4
5 C) for 24 h, prior to their evaluation.
2.1.2. Consumer testing
Consumers (n = 74) were recruited among students, professors
and workers from the School of Chemistry (Universidad de la
Table 1
Formulation of the yogurts used in Study 1.
Sample Milk fat
content (%)
Concentration of modied
starch (%)
Concentration of
gelatin (%)
1 0.1 0 0
2 0.1 0 0.5
3 0.1 1 0
4 0.1 1 0.5
5 2.6 0 0
6 2.6 0 0.5
7 2.6 1 0
8 2.6 1 0.5
2 G. Ares et al. / Food Quality and Preference xxx (2013) xxxxxx
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mulation. Food Quality and Preference (2013), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.foodqual.2013.05.014
Repblica, Montevideo, Uruguay) based on their yogurt consump-
tion (at least once a week) and their interest and availability to par-
ticipate in the study. Their ages were 1867 years old and 64%
were female. Cash incentives were not provided.
Testing was conducted in standard sensory booths under arti-
cial daylight type illumination, temperature control (2224 C) and
air circulation. Samples were presented in a monadic series, in
closed plastic containers labeled with three-digit random numbers,
at room temperature.
Twenty grams of each sample were served to assessors at 10 C
in closed odorless plastic containers labeled with three digit ran-
dom numbers. Sample presentation order followed a completed
block design balanced for carry-over and position effects. Still min-
eral water was used for rinsing between samples.
Consumers were rst asked to score their texture liking using a
horizontal 9-point hedonic scale anchored at dislike very much (1)
and like very much (9). Next, they completed a CATA question with
16 texture terms related to texture characteristics of yogurts. The
terms were selected based on previous qualitative consumer studies
(Gimnez & Ares, 2010) and were the following: smooth, viscous,
homogenous, liquid, lumpy, creamy, sticky, rough, gummy, thick,
gelatinous, rm, heterogeneous, consistent, runny, and mouth-coat-
ing. Consumers were asked to try each yogurt sample and to check
all the terms that they considered appropriate to describe its texture.
Then, consumers were asked to check all the terms they considered
appropriate to describe the texture of their ideal yogurt.
2.2. Study 2: apple study
2.2.1. Samples
Five commercial apple cultivars available in Uruguay were
used: crisp pink, fuji, granny smith, red delicious and royal gala.
All were provided by a fruit and vegetable wholesale supplier lo-
cated in Montevideo, Uruguay. Apples were removed from a cool
storage room at 5 C 24 h prior to testing and placed at room tem-
perature. Each fruit was cleaned with a wet cloth and cut into
quarters approximately 5 min before tasting. If any bruising or vi-
sual defect was observed the sample was discarded.
2.2.2. Consumer testing
Consumers (n = 119) were randomly recruited among people
walking through the City Hall of Montevideo (Uruguay) based on
their apple consumption (at least once a week) and their interest
in participating. Their ages were 1875 years old and 67% were fe-
male. Cash incentives were not used.
Testing was conducted in standard sensory booths under arti-
cial daylight type illumination, temperature control (2224 C) and
air circulation. Samples were presented monadically, in plastic
containers labeled with three-digit random numbers, at room tem-
perature. Sample presentation order followed a completed block
design balanced for carry-over and position effects. Water was
available for rinsing between samples.
Consumers were rst asked to score their overall liking using a
horizontal 9-point hedonic scale anchored at dislike very much (1)
and like very much (9). Next, they completed a CATA question with
15 terms related to sensory characteristics of apples. Consumers were
asked to try the sample and then to check all the terms that they con-
sidered appropriate to describe each apple. The terms were selected
based on previous literature (Andani, Jaeger, Wakeling, & MacFie,
2001; Daillant-Spinnler, MacFie, Betys, & Hedderley, 1996; Jaeger,
Andani, Wakeling, & MacFie, 1998) and preliminary consumer stud-
ies. The terms considered in the CATA question included texture, a-
vor and odor characteristics: rm, sour, odorless, juicy, crispy,
tasteless, sweet, avorsome, mealy, bitter, coarse, apple avor, apple
odor, soft and astringent. After testing each sample, consumers were
asked to complete the CATA question to describe their ideal apple.
2.3. Data analysis
Overall liking scores were analyzed using analysis of variance
(ANOVA) considering sample as xed source of variation and con-
sumer as a random effect. Cluster analysis was applied on centered
and reduced overall liking scores from Study 2 in order to identify
consumer segments with different preference patterns, consider-
ing Euclidean distances and Ward aggregation.
Frequency of use of each sensory attribute was determined by
counting the number of consumers that used that term to describe
each sample. Cochrans Q test (Manoukian, 1986; Parente, Manzon-
i, & Ares, 2011) was carried out to identify signicant differences
between samples for each of the terms included on the CATA ques-
tion. In Study 2, Fishers exact test (Fisher, 1954) was used to deter-
mine signicant differences between clusters in the frequency of
use of each term for describing the ideal product.
Correspondence analysis (CA) was used to get a bi-dimensional
representation of the samples and the relationship between sam-
ples and terms from the CATA question. This analysis was per-
formed on the frequency table containing the samples in rows
and the terms from the CATA question on the columns. The ideal
product was considered as supplementary individual in the analy-
sis. This option is available in R language.
A multiple factor analysis for contingency tables (MFACT) was
used to investigate the relationship between responses to the CATA
question of the two consumer groups identied in the cluster anal-
ysis (Bcue-Bertau & Pags, 2004). The frequency table of each con-
sumer segment was considered as a separate group of variables in
the analysis. RV coefcient between the congurations of both
clusters was also calculated.
Penalty analysis was carried out on consumer responses to
determine the drop in overall liking associated with a deviation
from the ideal for each attribute from the CATA question. CATA
data is usually coded as binary data assigning 1 or 0 if a term is
checked or not checked to describe a product, respectively. In the
present work, a dummy variable approach was used to describe
if an attribute was used to describe the product as in the ideal
product (0) or differently (1). Therefore, for each attribute the per-
centage of consumers who used it differently for describing each
product and the ideal was determined, as well as the mean drop
in liking associated with that deviation from the ideal. A one factor
KruskalWallis test was performed for each CATA variable as the
factor and overall liking as dependent variable, in order to deter-
mine if deviation from the ideal for each attribute caused a signif-
icant decrease in overall liking (Plaehn, 2012).
Furthermore, a partial-least squares (PLS) regression was used
to estimate the weight of the deviation from the ideal of each term
from the CATA question, following a similar approach to that pro-
posed by Xiong and Meullenet (2006). In this model absolute liking
scores were considered as dependent variable and the dummy
variables indicating if consumers described the product different
from their ideal as regressors. Only attributes which were consid-
ered as deviated from the ideal for at least 20% of the consumers
were considered, as suggested by Xiong and Meullenet (2006)
and Plaehn (2012).
Table 2
Mean texture liking scores and standard deviations (between brackets) for the yogurt
samples evaluated in Study 1.
Sample
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Texture liking
(n = 74)
4.2
c,d
(2.1)
5.6
a
(1.9)
3.5
d
(2.2)
5.2
a,b
(1.9)
5.6
a
(2.1)
5.9
a
(1.9)
4.4
b,c
(2.3)
5.3
a,b
(1.9)
Mean texture liking scores with different superscripts are signicantly different
according to Tukeys test for a condence level of 95%.
G. Ares et al. / Food Quality and Preference xxx (2013) xxxxxx 3
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mulation. Food Quality and Preference (2013), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.foodqual.2013.05.014
All signicance test were done at a signicance level of 0.05.
Statistical analyses were performed using XLStat 2009 (Addinsoft,
Paris, France) and R language (R Development Core Team, 2007)
using FactoMineR (L, Josse, & Husson, 2008).
3. Results
3.1. Study 1: yogurt samples
3.1.1. Texture liking scores
Signicant differences in the texture liking scores of the yogurt
samples were found (F = 13.19, p < 0.0001). As shown in Table 2,
average texture liking scores were low, ranging from 3.5
(SD = 2.2) to 5.9 (SD = 1.9). Samples 2, 4, 5, 6 and 8 had the highest
overall liking scores (5.25.9), whereas samples 1 and 3 were the
least preferred by consumers.
3.1.2. CATA counts
Signicant differences (p 6 0.05) in the frequency with which
14 out of the 16 terms of the CATA question were used to describe
the yogurt samples, suggesting that consumers perceived differ-
ences in the sensory characteristics of the evaluated yogurts (Ta-
ble 3). The ideal yogurt was described as smooth, homogeneous,
creamy, consistent and thick, which indicates that these were the
main drivers of liking for this type of product, in agreement with
Pohjanheimo and Sandell (2009) and Bayarri, Carbonell, Barrios,
and Costell (2011).
According to their texture, samples were sorted into three main
groups, as shown in sample representation in the rst and second
dimensions of the CA (Fig. 1). A rst group of yogurts, composed of
samples 3 and 7, were located at positive values of the rst dimen-
sion and negative values of the second dimension, being mainly
described as heterogeneous, lumpy and rough. These two samples
had a similar formulation and only differed in their fat content;
they both included 1% of modied starch and did not include gel-
atin. Samples 1 and 5 were located at positive values of the rst
and second dimension and were described as runny and liquid
by consumers; which could be explained by the fact that these
samples did not include modied starch and gelatin in their formu-
lation (Table 1). Finally, samples 2, 6, 4 and 8, which were formu-
lated with 0.5% gelatin, were located at negative values of the
second dimension and were described as thick, consistent, rm
and gelatinous.
As shown in Fig. 1, the ideal yogurt was characterized by the
terms smoothness, creaminess and homogeneity. As expected,
the position of the ideal product was close to the samples which
showed the highest texture liking scores and relatively far from
the least preferred samples (Table 2).
3.1.3. Penalty analysis
Fig. 2 shows the mean drops in texture liking as a function of
the proportion of consumers that checked an attribute differently
than for the ideal product for three yogurt samples. As shown,
the penalty analysis enabled the identication of directions for
product improvement for each of the samples. In the case of sam-
ple 1, the attributes with the highest mean drop and deviation
from the ideal were Homogeneous, Consistent and Thick. By look-
ing at Table 3 it seems clear that it is necessary to increase the
homogeneity and thickness of this sample since the frequency of
use of these attributes to describe sample 1 was lower than for
the ideal product. Furthermore, in the case of sample 3 the main
sensory problems were associated with its smoothness, lumpiness,
homogeneity and creaminess, which made it largely deviate from
the ideal yogurt. Finally, for sample 6 the percentage of consumers
who stated that the attributes deviated from the ideal was lower
than for samples 1 and 3, in agreement with the higher overall lik-
ing score of the former sample. The main deviations from the ideal
and penalties for this sample were related to its creaminess and
smoothness. As shown in Table 3 deviation from the ideal in those
attributes was associated with a lower frequency of mention that
can be linked to a lower intensity, when compared to the ideal yo-
gurt. It is worth mentioning though, that in some products there
are some attributes never perceived as enough by consumers,
among which creaminess is a typical example. In a product where
creaminess is characteristic (ice-cream, sauces, soups, etc.) they
might always report as not creamy enough. This fact has been
found when consumers use JAR scales (Moskowitz, 2003; Roth-
man, 2007), and would probably have an inuence when using
other kind of scales or even CATA questions, when consumers rate
products comparing with their expectations for an ideal product
that have in their minds.
Regression coefcients of the PLS regression models for the
eight yogurt samples are shown in Table 4. For all samples devia-
tion from the ideal signicantly affected overall liking for only a
subset of attributes. Smoothness was the only attribute in which
deviation from the ideal signicantly decreased overall liking for
all samples. For sample 1, overall liking scores signicantly de-
creased because smoothness, lumpiness, homogeneity, roughness,
mouth-coating, heterogeneity and its liquid consistency deviated
from the ideal. Meanwhile, in the case of sample 2 overall liking
signicantly decreased due to the deviation from the ideal in
smoothness, homogeneity and creaminess.
According to Xiong and Meullenet (2006) one of the main
advantages of PLS-based penalty analysis is information about
the maximum potential improvement on overall liking, which is
calculated as the difference between the models intercept and ac-
tual mean liking score. Although the condence interval of the
intercept can be broad, the estimation of the maximum potential
improvement is usually in agreement with average liking scores.
As shown in Table 4, the maximumpotential increase in overall lik-
ing if the attributes that deviated from the ideal were modied
Table 3
Frequency (%) with which the terms of the CATA question were used by consumers to
describe the eight yogurt samples and their ideal product, and results from Cochrans
Q test for comparison between samples.
Attribute Sample
Ideal 6 5 2 8 4 7 1 3
Smooth
***
92 64 62 53 45 38 23 41 12
Creamy
**
86 38 35 35 38 36 32 16 18
Homogeneous
***
80 57 26 39 43 49 5 20 8
Consistent
***
41 45 11 45 55 57 20 0 9
Thick
***
38 43 8 32 51 49 30 3 23
Firm
***
20 45 1 36 65 47 8 0 1
Runny
***
18 5 47 11 0 3 15 55 20
Viscous
ns
12 12 14 8 15 7 7 5 18
Mouth-coating
*
9 19 14 11 16 16 24 15 30
Liquid
***
3 1 45 4 0 3 22 73 23
Heterogenous 3 7 18 19 0 4 42 32 49
Lumpy
***
1 11 26 7 8 11 61 32 57
Gelatinous
***
0 22 0 30 26 31 0 1 4
Sticky
ns
0 4 3 4 8 3 8 3 14
Rough
***
0 7 9 5 11 16 46 24 46
Gummy
ns
0 1 1 0 5 5 7 1 4
Samples are arranged in descending texture liking order from left to right.
***
Indicates signicant differences between samples according to Cochrans Q test
at p 6 0.001.
**
Indicates signicant differences between samples according to Cochrans Q test
at p 6 0.01.
*
Indicates signicant differences between samples according to Cochrans Q test at
p 6 0.05.
ns
Indicates no signicant differences between samples according to Cochrans Q
test (p 6 0.05).
4 G. Ares et al. / Food Quality and Preference xxx (2013) xxxxxx
Please cite this article in press as: Ares, G., et al. Penalty analysis based on CATA questions to identify drivers of liking and directions for product refor-
mulation. Food Quality and Preference (2013), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.foodqual.2013.05.014
Fig. 1. Representation of the yogurt samples, the ideal product and the terms in the rst and second dimensions of the correspondence analysis of the CATA counts of Study 1.
Fig. 2. Mean drops in overall liking as a function of the percentage of consumers that checked an attribute differently than for the ideal product for three of the yogurt
samples of Study 1. Attributes highlighted in bold correspond to those in which more than 20% of the consumers considered that it deviated from the ideal and caused a
signicant decrease in texture liking according to KruskalWallis test for a 95% condence level.
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ranged from 1.3 to 3.0. This information enables to take decisions
for product reformulation based on the potential gain in consumer
overall liking scores.
By combining Table 4 with the description of the samples and
the ideal yogurt presented in Table 3, it is possible to identify rec-
ommendations for product improvement for each of the evaluated
samples. Lumpiness was the attribute with the highest regression
coefcient in the PLS model of sample 1, suggesting that it was
the main attribute to be modied to improve it. Similarly, in the
case of sample 8, creaminess was the attribute with the highest
regression coefcient. Considering that this attribute was less fre-
quently used to describe this sample than the ideal product, it
would be recommended to increase its creaminess. For some sam-
ples (samples 3, 5, 6 and 7) there were several attributes with sim-
ilar weights with regard to their inuence on texture liking. A
summary of the recommendations for improvement of each prod-
uct is shown in Table 5.
3.2. Study 2: apple samples
3.2.1. Overall liking scores
Signicant differences in the overall liking scores of the apple
cultivars were found (F = 12.34, p < 0.0001). As shown in Table 6,
Table 4
Percentage of consumers (%) who describe each yogurt sample as different from the ideal for each of the attributes included in the CATA question, regression coefcients (RC) and
intercept of PLS models.
Term Sample 1 Sample 2 Sample 3 Sample 4 Sample 5 Sample 6 Sample 7 Sample 8
% RC % RC % RC % RC % RC % RC % RC % RC
Smooth 62 0.15 50 0.24 82 0.17 59 0.21 41 0.16 41 0.20 77 0.14 53 0.14
Lumpy 31 0.31 8 55 0.10 12 27 0.15 12 59 ns 9
Viscous 18 12 16 14 20 ns 14 16 22 0.15
Homogeneous 65 0.13 49 0.18 77 0.08 39 0.17 59 ns 28 0.16 74 0.10 36 ns
Liquid 73 0.14 4 26 0.09 5 45 0.18 4 24 ns 3
Thick 38 ns 32 ns 34 ns 46 ns 35 ns 41 ns 32 ns 43 ns
Gelatinous 1 30 ns 4 31 ns 0 22 ns 0 26 ns
Firm 20 ns 41 ns 22 ns 41 ns 19 46 ns 26 0.14 55 0.15
Sticky 3 4 14 ns 3 3 4 8 ns 8
Creamy 73 ns 57 0.18 69 0.10 58 0.32 59 ns 51 0.16 57 0.19 57 0.35
Rough 24 0.17 5 46 0.09 16 9 7 46 0.14 11
Consistent 41 ns 45 ns 39 ns 41 ns 38 ns 39 0.17 39 ns 45 0.18
Mouth-coating 22 0.13 12 34 0.10 20 ns 18 15 28 0.11 18
Gummy 1 0 4 5 1 1 7 5
Runny 51 ns 23 ns 30 0.09 18 35 0.13 23 ns 27 0.11 18
Heterogenous 35 0.15 22 ns 49 0.12 7 18 9 45 0.20 3
Intercept 7.2 7.2 6.3 7.0 6.9 7.3 7.3 7.4
Mean texture liking 4.2 5.6 3.5 5.2 5.6 5.9 4.4 5.3
Mean drop
*
3.0 1.8 2.8 1.8 1.3 1.4 2.9 2.1
: Indicates that the attribute was not included in the PLS model because less than 20% of the consumers considered that it deviated from the ideal; ns: corresponds to non-
signicant coefcients.
*
Mean drop is calculated as the intercept of the model minus the actual texture liking score.
Table 5
Summary of the recommendations for reformulating the texture of the eight yogurts
considered in Study 1, based on results from PLS modeling (Table 4) and consumer
responses to the CATA question (Table 3).
Sample Main recommendations for reformulation
1 Reduce lumpiness and roughness. Increase smoothness,
homogeneity and thickness (to reduce deviation in liquid)
2 Increase smoothness, homogeneity and creaminess
3 Increase smoothness, homogeneity, consistency and creaminess.
Reduce lumpiness and roughness and heterogeneity
4 Increase creaminess, smoothness and homogeneity
5 Increase smoothness and consistency (to reduce deviation in
Liquid). Reduce lumpiness
6 Increase smoothness, homogeneity, creaminess. Reduce
consistency
7 Increase smoothness, creaminess and homogeneity. Reduce
rmness, roughness, mouth-coating and heterogeneity
8 Reduce rmness, consistency and viscosity. Increase smoothness
and creaminess
Table 6
Mean overall liking scores and standard deviations (between brackets) for the apple
cultivars evaluated in Study 2, at the aggregate level and for the two consumer
segments identied using Cluster analysis.
Sample Global (n = 119) Cluster 1 (n = 79) Cluster 2 (n = 40)
Crisp pink 7.2
b
(2.1) 7.7
c
(1.9) 6.3
b
(2.2)
Fuji 7.1
b
(2.1) 7.4
c
(1.9) 6.1
b
(2.1)
Granny smith 5.7
a
(2.5) 6.4
b
(2.3) 4.2
a
(2.3)
Red delicious 6.2
a
(2.6) 5.2
a
(2.3) 8.2
c
(1.1)
Royal gala 5.7
a
(2.3) 5.2
a
(2.2) 6.7
b
(1.9)
Mean overall liking scores with different superscripts are signicantly different
according to Tukeys test for a condence level of 95%.
Table 7
Frequency (%) with which the terms of the CATA question were used by consumers to
describe the ve apple cultivars and their ideal apple, and results from Cochrans Q
test for comparison between samples.
Attribute Sample
Ideal Crisp
pink
Fuji Red
delicious
Royal
gala
Granny
Smith
Juicy
***
92 63 76 48 51 49
Firm
***
79 68 70 18 19 66
Sweet
***
77 32 39 61 31 5
Flavorsome
***
76 43 44 31 25 25
Apple avor
***
69 45 40 37 25 14
Crispy
***
64 66 55 11 16 46
Apple odor
***
39 13 8 8 5 8
Sour
***
22 52 12 3 7 80
Astringent
***
7 8 7 1 3 16
Soft
***
6 1 2 45 49 2
Mealy
***
5 1 0 58 36 1
Coarse
***
3 3 1 24 15 2
Bitter
***
2 5 10 3 6 18
Odourless
***
1 13 14 14 22 14
Tasteless
***
0 4 9 10 31 8
Samples are arranged in descending texture liking order from left to right.
***
Indicates signicant differences between samples according to Cochrans Q test
at p 6 0.001.
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on the aggregate level overall liking scores ranged from 5.7
(SD = 2.5) to 7.2 (SD = 2.1); being crisp pink and fuji the preferred
cultivars.
Cluster analysis on overall liking scores enabled the identica-
tion of two consumer segments with different preference patterns.
Cluster 1 was composed of 79 consumers who clearly preferred
crisp pink and fuji apples and rejected royal gala and red delicious
(Table 6). On the other hand, the remaining 40 consumers (Cluster
2) preferred red delicious apples, rating their overall liking using an
average score higher than 8, whereas they disliked slightly granny
smith.
3.2.2. CATA counts
Signicant differences (p h0.001) were found in the frequency
with which all the terms included in the CATA question were used
to describe the apple samples, suggesting that consumers per-
ceived large differences in the sensory characteristics of the evalu-
ated apple cultivars (Table 7).
Sample representation in the rst and second dimensions of the
CA showed that according to both consumer segments the apples
were sorted into three groups (Fig. 3). A rst group, located at
negative values of the rst and second dimension, was composed
of rm and crispy apples, crisp pink and fuji. Royal gala and red
delicious formed a second group, being described as mealy, soft
and coarse by both clusters. Finally, granny smith apples were
located in a distinct position due to their sourness, bitterness
and astringency. Despite the sensory maps of the samples (RV
coefcient = 0.91, p h0.0001) and their general description
were similar, the clusters differed in the location of their ideal
apple and in how they used some of the terms of the CATA
question.
As shown in Fig. 3, the location of the ideal apple for Clusters 1
and 2 was clearly different. For consumers in Cluster 1 the sensory
Fig. 3. Representation of the samples, the ideal apple and the terms in the rst and second dimensions of the correspondence analysis of the CATA counts of Study 2 for the
two identied consumer segments with different preference patterns: (a) Cluster 1 (n = 79) and (b) Cluster 2 (n = 40).
G. Ares et al. / Food Quality and Preference xxx (2013) xxxxxx 7
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characteristics of the ideal apple were similar to those of cultivars
fuji and crisp pink, whereas for Cluster 2 the ideal apple was inter-
mediate between Fuji and Red delicious, being closer to the latter.
The location of the ideal products for both consumer segments was
in agreement with overall liking scores. The difference in the loca-
tion of the ideal apple of both consumer segments could be ex-
plained by their responses to the CATA question. As shown in
Table 8, signicant differences between clusters were identied
in the frequency with which 4 terms of the CATA question were
used to describe the ideal apple. Consumers in Cluster 1 used sig-
nicantly more frequently the terms rm, sour and crispy, and sig-
nicantly less frequently the termsoft than consumers in Cluster 2,
which indicates differences in their drivers of liking. Cluster 1 pre-
ferred rmer, crisper and more sour apples than consumers in
Cluster 2, as shown in Table 6 and Fig. 3. Cluster 1 clearly preferred
fuji and crisp pink apples, which were characterized by their rm-
ness and crispiness; whereas they rejected red delicious and royal
gala apples which were described as soft and mealy. The opposite
trend was found for Cluster 2. Daillant-Spinnler et al. (1996) also
found consumer segmentation when testing 12 southern-hemi-
sphere varieties of apples, with patterns according to whether a
sweet, hard apple or a juicy, acidic apple was preferred.
Regarding the use of the terms from the CATA question, the rep-
resentation of the terms in the rst and second dimension of the
MFACT showed that the clusters differed in the way in which they
described the samples; in particular in how they used terms some
of them related to complex sensory attributes, such as Apple avor,
avorsome, apple odor, and tasteless (Fig. 4). These attributes for
both clusters were located far from each other, suggesting that
they were used differently. As shown in Fig. 3, consumers in both
segments associated avor and odor intensity with their preferred
apple cultivars. The terms avorsome and apple avor were asso-
ciated with crisp pink and fuji for Cluster 1, whereas they were
associated with royal gala and red delicious for Cluster 2. A similar
trend was found for the term tasteless, which was associated with
red delicious and royal gala apples for Cluster 1 and with granny
smith for consumers in Cluster 2. On the other hand, it is interest-
ing to highlight that the rest of the terms of the CATA question,
which corresponded to simplest sensory attributes, were located
close for both clusters, suggesting that they were used in a similar
way by consumers in both clusters (Fig. 4). The RV coefcient be-
tween term congurations for both clusters was 0.65
(p = 0.0006), higher than the RV coefcient between sample
Table 8
Frequency (%) with which the terms of the CATA question were used by the two
identied consumer segments to describe their ideal product and signicance at
which signicant differences existed according to Fishers exact test.
Term Frequency of use (%) p Fishers exact test
Cluster 1 (n = 79) Cluster 2 (n = 40)
Juicy 92 93 >0.999
Firm 89 60 0.001
Sweet 76 80 0.653
Flavorsome 80 68 0.176
Apple avor 67 60 0.676
Crispy 75 43 0.001
Apple odor 41 38 0.844
Sour 29 8 0.009
Astringent 9 93 0.265
Soft 0 18 0.001
Mealy 4 8 0.662
Coarse 1 5 0.545
Bitter 1 3 >0.999
Odorless 0 3 0.336
Tasteless 0 0 1
Terms highlighted in bold correspond to those in which signicant differences in
their frequency of use between Clusters existed according to Fishers exact test.
Fig. 4. Representation of the terms from the CATA question in the rst and second dimensions of the multiple factor analysis performed on CATA counts of Study 2 for the two
identied consumer segments with different preference patterns.
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congurations (RV = 0.91). This suggests that although both clus-
ters did not differ in the perception of similarities and differences
among apple cultivars, they differed in the way in which they used
some of the terms to describe them.
3.2.3. Penalty analysis
Fig. 5 shows the mean drops in overall liking as a function of the
proportion of consumers that checked an attribute differently than
for the ideal apple across all samples for the two consumer seg-
ments identied in cluster analysis. Except for apple odor, at the
aggregate level deviation from the ideal of all the attributes in-
cluded in the CATA question caused a signicant drop in overall
liking for consumers in Cluster 1. The attributes that caused the
highest decrease in overall liking were tasteless, coarse, soft,
mealy, juicy and rm, which indicates that texture attributes had
the highest relevance for the hedonic perception of these consum-
ers. On the other hand, avor attributes were the most relevant for
consumers in Cluster 2, who penalized samples which deviated
from the ideal in sweetness, taste intensity and bitterness. It is also
interesting to highlight that deviation from the ideal in the terms
rm, crispy, mealy and coarse did not cause a signicant drop in
overall liking for Cluster 2, meaning that most probably consumers
in this group would be prepared to sacrice texture in favor of their
preferred apple taste.
Regression coefcients of the PLS regression models for the ve
apple samples and the two consumer segments are shown in Ta-
ble 9. For all samples deviation from the ideal signicantly affected
overall liking for only a subset of attributes. Moreover, clear differ-
ences were identied between the clusters. For example, Cluster 1
signicantly decreased overall liking scores for crisp pink apples
due to the deviation from the ideal in rmness, juiciness and
sweetness; whereas Cluster 2 penalized deviation from the ideal
in juiciness, sweetness, sourness and avorsome.
By looking at the maximumpotential increase in overall liking if
the attributes that deviated from the ideal were modied, it seems
clear that it is not worth it to suggest improvements in the sensory
characteristics of fuij and red delicious apples for consumers in
Cluster 1 and Cluster 2, respectively.
Furthermore, by studying Table 9 together with the description
of the samples, their ideal apple (Table 7) and the overall liking rat-
ings (Table 6), it is possible to identify recommendations for prod-
uct improvement for consumers in Cluster 1 and 2. Consumers in
Cluster 1 preferred crisp pink and fuji apples (Table 6). Juiciness
was the attribute which deviation from the ideal had the highest
weight in decreasing overall liking for crisp pink apples, indicating
that this cultivar would be more liked by these consumers by
increasing its juiciness (Table 9). Meanwhile, the main direction
for improvement in the case of fuji apples for consumers in Cluster
1 was related to the term tasteless, which indicates the need for an
increase in avour intensity. On the other hand, consumers in Clus-
ter 2 clearly preferred red delicious apples, which could be im-
proved by increasing its sweetness and reducing its softness
(Tables 7 and 9). However, the improvement in these last cultivars
for Cluster 1 and Cluster 2 would not lead to a large increase in
overall liking scores, as previously discussed. For consumers in
Cluster 2 it would be recommended to improve royal gala apples
by increasing its sweetness and juiciness and reducing its softness.
These changes would lead to a potential increase in overall liking of
Fig. 5. Mean drops in overall liking as a function of the percentage of consumers that checked an attribute differently than for the ideal product at the aggregate level for the
two identied consumer segments with different preference patterns. Attributes highlighted in bold correspond to those in which deviation from the ideal and caused a
signicant decrease in overall liking according to KruskalWallis test for a 95% condence level.
G. Ares et al. / Food Quality and Preference xxx (2013) xxxxxx 9
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2.1 in the 9-point hedonic scale. A summary of the recommenda-
tions for changing each apple cultivar for the two consumer seg-
ments is shown in Table 10.
4. Discussion and conclusions
Sensory methodologies which aim at identifying ideal products
based on consumer descriptions are widely used in new product
development to obtain actionable directions for product improve-
ment and are nowadays gaining in popularity (Worch et al., 2012a,
2012b). According to Van Trijp et al. (2007) methods that rely on
consumer self-reported attribute ideals or deviation from the ideal
deliver more realistic ideal points than methods based on regres-
sion-based techniques.
The present work proposed the application of a new penalty-
based method on consumer responses to a CATA question to de-
scribe the samples and their ideal product, as an extension to the
approach suggested by Plaehn (2012) when working with the emo-
tional prole of drinks. Consumers are just asked to describe the
samples and their ideal product using a CATA question. Compared
to methodologies that rely on the use of scales, this approach
would be simpler and easier to use for consumers and could also
potentially have a smaller impact on hedonic scores than JAR or
intensity scales (Adams et al., 2007). Apart from its simplicity for
consumers, an advantage of the method is that it could be applied
with a small set of products, not like regression-based methods
that require larger sample sets. However, it must be considered
that the number of samples should be 5 or more if factorial tech-
niques such as CA or MFA are to be used for data analysis.
Asking consumers to describe their ideal product using a CATA
question consists of a exible and simple add-onto a hedonic bal-
lot. Its main advantages is that it provides information about con-
sumer perception of the sensory characteristics of the products and
also information which enables to identify the sensory characteris-
tics of consumer ideal product at the aggregate level and for con-
sumer segments with different preference patterns. This enables
the identication of drivers of liking for a set of products based
exclusively on consumer perception and without the need for
regression techniques. In the studies included in the present arti-
cle, the description of the ideal product provided by consumers
was similar to that of the samples with the highest liking scores,
which indicates the validity of the information provided by
Table 10
Summary of the recommendations for changes in the ve apple cultivars considered in Study 2, based on results from PLS modeling (Table 9) and consumer responses to the CATA
question (Table 7), for the two consumer segments identied in Cluster analysis.
Cluster Sample Main recommended changes
1 Crisp pink Increase juiciness, sweetness and rmness
Fuji Changes are not necessary
Granny
smith
Increase avorsome, sweetness and juiciness. Reduce sourness
Royal gala Increase taste intensity (to reduce deviation in avorsome, tasteless and odorless), juiciness, crispiness and rmness.
Reduce bitterness, softness, astringency and mealiness
Red
delicious
Reduce coarseness and mealiness. Increase taste intensity (to reduce deviation in apple avor, avorsome, tasteless and odorless), rmness,
juiciness, and sweetness
2 Crisp pink Increase juiciness, sweetness and taste intensity (to reduce deviation in avorsome). Reduce sourness
Fuji Increase sweetness and taste intensity (to reduce deviation in avorsome). Reduce crispiness
Granny
smith
Reduce bitterness and sourness
Royal gala Increase juiciness and sweetness. Reduce softness
Red
delicious
Changes are not necessary
Table 9
Percentage of consumers (%) who describe each apple sample as different from the ideal for each of the attributes included in the CATA question, regression coefcients (RC) and
intercept of PLS models for the two consumer segments identied in Cluster analysis.
Term Crisp pink Fuji Granny smith Royal gala Red delicious
Cluster 1 Cluster 2 Cluster 1 Cluster 2 Cluster 1 Cluster 2 Cluster 1 Cluster 2 Cluster 1 Cluster 2
% RC % RC % RC % RC % RC % RC % RC % RC % RC % RC
Firm 42 0.13 35 ns 38 ns 30 ns 44 ns 38 ns 82 0.10 50 ns 84 0.09 53 ns
Juicy 45 0.31 53 0.23 37 0.16 35 ns 53 0.13 60 ns 55 0.15 50 0.25 65 0.14 38 ns
Sweet 59 0.16 70 0.23 50 0.13 70 0.19 76 0.14 78 ns 65 ns 55 0.25 59 0.09 23 0.36
Bitter 23 ns 10 27 0.18 10 32 ns 28 0.33 26 0.09 10 26 ns 3
Apple odor 47 ns 40 ns 48 ns 33 ns 47 ns 33 ns 50 ns 40 ns 49 ns 30 ns
Sour 49 ns 65 0.17 43 ns 15 69 0.15 63 0.30 48 ns 8 43 ns 10
Crispy 36 ns 40 ns 49 0.13 40 0.19 49 ns 43 ns 73 0.09 45 ns 75 ns 33 ns
Flavorsome 49 ns 53 0.14 54 ns 58 0.22 64 0.16 58 ns 72 0.07 50 ns 70 0.08 55 ns
Coarse 23 ns 5 23 ns 5 22 ns 10 37 ns 8 46 0.15 18
Soft 22 ns 18 ns 23 ns 18 23 ns 18 55 0.13 48 0.21 60 ns 30 0.43
Odorless 30 ns 20 ns 30 ns 18 31 ns 20 ns 38 0.08 25 ns 31 0.09 20 ns
Tasteless 22 ns 10 27 0.29 13 24 ns 18 52 0.16 15 31 0.12 5
Mealy 24 ns 10 24 ns 8 24 ns 10 53 0.09 33 ns 71 0.15 48 ns
Apple avor 48 ns 55 ns 51 0.11 50 ns 64 ns 70 ns 65 ns 50 ns 58 0.11 43 ns
Astringent 26 ns 13 30 ns 13 35 0.14 18 29 0.09 8 29 ns 3
Intercept 9.0 8.2 7.6 8.2 8.4 5.2 8.8 8.6 7.8 8.8
Mean overall liking 7.7 6.3 7.4 6.1 6.4 4.2 5.2 8.2 5.2 6.7
Mean drop
*
1.3 1.9 0.2 2.1 2.0 1.0 3.6 0.4 2.6 2.1
: Indicates that the attribute was not included in the PLS model because less than 20% of the consumers considered that it deviated from the ideal; ns: corresponds to non-
signicant coefcients.
*
Mean drop is calculated as the intercept of the model minus the actual overall liking score.
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consumers when describing their ideal product using CATA ques-
tions. Similar results have been reported when asking consumers
to describe their ideal product by rating attribute intensity using
scales in Ideal Prole Method (Worch et al., 2010, 2012a, 2012b).
Further research is needed to investigate the stability of consumer
descriptions of their ideal product using a CATA question within a
session and between sessions.
Penalty analysis based on the comparison of consumer percep-
tion of the samples and their ideal product provided information
about the impact of deviation from the ideal on liking scores, di-
rectly from consumers. A graphical representation of the relation-
ships between overall liking scores and deviation from the ideal
product was obtained, as well as the potential improvement in
overall liking scores and information about the impact of deviation
from the ideal of each attribute. Meanwhile, the direction of the
sensory changes needed to reduce the deviation from the ideal
was obtained from the difference between the percentage of con-
sumers who used a term for describing the samples and the ideal
product. This type of analysis enabled to make specic and action-
able recommendations for each product based on the inuence of
deviation from the ideal on overall liking. Besides, PLS modeling
provided information about the potential for improvement for
each product, enabling a realistic decision as to the value of refor-
mulation. The main disadvantage of the method is related to the
fact that information about attribute intensity and the degree of
difference between the products and the ideal for each consumer
is not gathered.
In the present study differences in the inuence of deviation
from the ideal when the product is less or more intense in each
specic attribute were not considered. However, the PLS dummy
approach could be easily performed by considering two different
dummy variables for each attribute, one which indicates if the
attribute is used to describe the product and not the ideal, and a
second one which indicates if the attribute is used to describe
the ideal and not the product. A similar approach has been used
by Xiong and Meullenet (2006) when dealing with JAR scales.
Another drawback could be how the terms included in the CATA
question were selected, if not chosen appropriately some drivers of
liking or disliking might be missed, but this fact is inherent to all
attribute-based descriptive techniques.
Further research and comparison with other optimization tech-
niques, such as ideal prole and JAR scales, would be needed. Apart
from comparing ideal products and recommendations for product
reformulation, it would be necessary to compare the methodolo-
gies in terms of ease of use and time required for completing the
task. Besides, it would also be necessary to study the minimum
number of consumers needed for obtaining reliable product spaces
from CATA questions. Considering that the proposed penalty-based
approach relies on overall liking scores, working with the usual
number of consumers considered in hedonic tests (100120)
(Hough et al., 2006) seems reasonable for obtaining a reliable iden-
tication of drivers of liking and directions for product reformula-
tion. However, the number of consumers to be included in the
study also depends on the number of segments that are sought
to be identied. Due to the methodological nature of the present
work only 74 consumers were considered for Study 1, which does
not compromise its validity.
Another interesting issue that arose from the results is related
to differences between consumer segments in the way they de-
scribe the evaluated products. Consumers tended to associate odor
and avor terms, such as Apple odor and avor, to their preferred
samples, indicating that their evaluation of these terms were
strongly affected by their preference patterns. Ares et al. (2010)
and Lado, Vicente, Manzzioni, and Ares (2010) also reported that
consumer segments with different preference patterns differed in
the way in which they used some terms of a CATA question to de-
scribe samples. In particular, Lado et al. (2010) found that the main
differences between consumer segments were observed in the
terms related to total odor and avor intensity. The fact of nding
differences in the use of sensory terms depending on the prefer-
ence pattern is indeed worth of further investigation. Is it that pref-
erence in a way biases the description? Is it that consumers
idealize the sensory characters of the perfect product in their
minds? What kind of attributes would be affected by this? Or is
it simply a matter of attribute denition? From the present study,
and also from Lado et al. (2010), it seems that mainly attributes
less dened and that describe typicality might be the ones more
affected. Attributes like rm, crispy, soft, mealy or sweet have been
similarly used by both clusters in this study, while other attributes
like apple avor where the ones that differed. For a consumer,
the apple avor in their preferred or ideal apple might be a par-
ticular avor that they would rate more intensely or tick more fre-
quently in a CATA, even if another sample has a more intense avor
but not corresponding with prole they have in their minds as
how an apple should taste.
This result coming from this work suggests the need for further
research related to the selection of terms to be included in a CATA
question and particularly to study the validity of consumer evalu-
ations of complex sensory attributes. On the other hand, the fact
that consumers responses to a CATA question might be inuenced
by their preference patterns makes the inclusion of information
about the ideal product interesting for better understanding con-
sumer perception of the sensory characteristics of a set of products
and for the identication of their drivers of liking.
Acknowledgements
The authors are indebted to Comisin Sectorial de Investigacin
Cientca (CSIC) fromUniversidad de la Repblica for nancial sup-
port and to Comisin Administradora del Mercado Modelo for pro-
viding the apple samples used in Study 1. Also, the authors are
grateful to the Spanish Ministry of Science and for the contract
awarded to the author P. Varela (Juan de la Cierva Program). The
authors would like to thank Luca Antnez, Alejandra Sapolinski
and Leticia Vidal for their help with data collection in Study 1.
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mulation. Food Quality and Preference (2013), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.foodqual.2013.05.014

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