Standardization News

A Guide for Sensory Evaluation of Products

A new ASTM International standard will help companies determine the sensory characteristics of products using small groups of people. These small group sensory tests are sometimes called “team tastings,” “benchings,” “informal tastings” or “technical tastings.” ASTM’s committee on sensory evaluation (E18) developed the guide, which will soon be published as E3093.

The new standard covers occasions in which a group of no more than 10 people evaluate a product or series of products for a specific objective. The aim of the guide is to provide best practices to ensure that the process has sufficient rigor and minimal bias in order to make the needed decision based on a product’s sensory attributes.

“Companies frequently need to make decisions concerning a product or set of products, either prior to more formal, large scale research or as an end in and of itself at all stages of development projects,” says ASTM International member Lori Rothman of Lori Rothman Consulting. “This new guide will provide sensory professionals with a framework by which to set up and execute small group evaluations that will meet objectives in a more rigorous way than they are currently being conducted.” Rothman and ASTM member Christine Van Dongen, fellow, Sensory Center, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, co-chaired the task group that developed the new standard.

Rothman notes that, while sensory professionals and product developers are the most likely potential users of the new guide, it could be used by anyone who needs to conduct a small group product evaluation. 

ASTM welcomes participation in the development of its standards. Become a member of ASTM. The next meeting of the ASTM International committee on sensory evaluation is October 21-25, 2019, in Houston, Texas, USA.

To purchase standards, contact ASTM International customer relations (tel +1.877.909.ASTM;

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