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Convenience Sampling for Acceptability and CATA Measurements May Provide Inaccurate Results: A Case Study with Fruit‐Flavored Powdered beverages Tested in Argentina, Spain and U.S.A.

Cardinal, Paula, Zamora, Maria Clara, Chambers, Edgar, IV, Carbonell Barrachina, Ángel, Hough, Guillermo
Journal of sensory studies 2015 v.30 no.4 pp. 295-304
apples, beverages, business enterprises, case studies, cherries, children, cities, consumer acceptance, correspondence analysis, development projects, flavor, food acceptability, food science, grape juice, grapefruits, grapes, linear models, pears, professionals, scientists, students, technicians, women, Argentina, Spain, United States
The objective of this study was to measure the sensory acceptability and obtain check‐all‐that‐apply (CATA) responses for fruit‐flavored powdered juices, with three different consumer segments: children and women who could be considered target populations, and a convenience sample of food‐science‐related consumers (FSRC). The study was conducted with a total of 550 consumers in four cities: Alicante (Spain), Buenos Aires (Argentina), Manhattan (U.S.A.) and 9 de Julio (Argentina). The products were reconstituted powdered juices with the following flavors: apple, cherry, grape, grapefruit, orange and pear. Overall, FSRC consumers had the lowest acceptability scores for these products. Regarding CATA results, multiple correspondence analysis showed cherry and grape juices were associated to artificial‐flavor and artificial‐color, with the FSRC respondents being mainly responsible for the use of these descriptors. Pear and orange were considered to have natural‐flavor and good‐color, mainly by children and women. A generalized linear model was used to analyze the effect of “sample,” “city” and “consumer segment” on the percentage of checks given to each descriptor. The “consumer segment” effect was significant for nearly all descriptors, with FSRC checking samples differently to women and children. PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS: When convenience samples are assembled for food acceptability or CATA studies, the most convenient consumers to recruit often are food science students, staff or, in the case of companies, food science professionals or technicians. The consequences of using these convenience samples are not always considered. The present research is conclusive in showing the significant differences between FSRC and target populations, both in measuring acceptability and in consumer description using the CATA methodology. Development projects based on acceptability results from convenience samples of food scientists, students or technicians could lead to erroneous development directions.