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Sensory descriptive analysis data used as a guide to match formulation results in qualifying alternate vendors Kathleen Rutledge, Lauri Rottmayer, Betty Sapp 21 st Sensory, Inc. 512C SE Washington Blvd., Bartlesville OK 74006. BACKGROUND. METHODS. RESULTS.

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Sensory descriptive analysis data used as a guide to match formulation results in qualifying alternate vendors

Kathleen Rutledge, Lauri Rottmayer, Betty Sapp

21st Sensory, Inc. 512C SE Washington Blvd., Bartlesville OK 74006

BACKGROUND

METHODS

RESULTS

To achieve greater control over rising costs of proprietary formulations and specialized vendor products including poultry cuts and marinades, a major US casual dining restaurant group requested sensory descriptive analysis of its signature menu items.  Over 60 menu items were tested. This study explains the small panel consensus method of descriptive analysis used to compare chickens marinated in teriyaki sauces.  Using the data as a decision tool, the company achieved a nine figure savings qualifying new poultry vendors.

DA panelists (N=6), highly trained in using Universal Scales and references, evaluated flavor, texture and appearance of boneless, skinless chicken breasts with rib meat attached in teriyaki marinade. DA method used was that of consensus whereby the panelists ballot independently then discuss the scores, agree on attribute differences and similarities and provide qualitative comments.

The control sample represented the current vendor’s poultry source and marinade and the test sample was submitted by the vendor seeking to be qualified.

In the first round of testing, the data demonstrated that the samples were similar in appearance, but different in flavor and texture. Most notably, the proposed vendor sample had less white meat/poultry flavor and was less fibrous. The marinade had more brown/caramelized, pineapple and ginger flavors and less onion/garlic flavor.

Eight weeks later, a second round of testing was conducted. The proposed vendor submitted a set of reformulated samples for analysis. The control data demonstrated consistency with the previous samples tested. The reformulated test sample was a successful match to the control product.

  • Trained panelists documented differences in both the flavor and texture of the samples of chicken. Resulting data were used by formulators as a guide to achieve a match in the subsequent test.

PURPOSE AND HYPOTHESIS

SIGNIFICANCE

Quality conscious restaurants are meticulous about offering menu items that are consistent. Loyal customers are sensitive to perceived changes in signature offerings. Often, the formulations are provided by single source vendors. Descriptive analysis (DA) as described ASTM MNL 13 Manual on Descriptive Analysis Testing for Sensory Evaluation, edited by R.C. Hootman is an effective method of “fingerprinting” the flavor, texture and appearance of foods, ingredients, and beverages. Using sensory DA data as a guide, vendors can alter formulations to achieve a match and use the final data as a means of demonstrating parity to current vendor formulations.

  • The process demonstrated an effective method providing continuous quality for the customers while increasing competition and resulting in overall cost savings to the restaurant.

  • The process eliminates multiple bench top trials and errors and reduces time and expense in achieving a match.


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