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Consumer perception of sandiness in Dulce de Leche

Gimenez, Ana, Ares, Gaston, Gambaro, Adriana
Journal of sensory studies 2008 v.23 no.2 pp. 171-185
cluster analysis, consumer acceptance, crystallization, crystals, lactose, probability, shelf life
Sandiness, one of the most common defects of dulce de leche, is caused by lactose crystallization. In order to study consumer reaction to the presence of different levels of this defect, survival analysis statistics was applied to the consumer acceptance/rejection data of the samples. Limits for this defect were estimated by working with 10% and 25% consumer rejection probabilities. The consumers were also asked to score the sample sandiness according to their perception, using a 9-point scale. Cluster analysis and correspondence analysis performed showed the heterogeneity of the consumer responses toward sandiness in dulce de leche. Significant correlations were established between consumer sandiness and the number of crystals and sandiness as measured by a panel of trained assessors, the latter being the best indicator of sandiness as perceived by the consumers. It could be established that the consumers' and assessors' sandiness perception is clearly influenced by the presence of agglomerates, their size distribution and number. Sandiness is an important defect for a segment of consumers who rejected samples with high levels of sandiness, suggesting the importance of avoiding the occurrence of this defect. Survival analysis methodology was used to estimate the maximum level of sandiness in dulce de leche before consumers reject it. As sandiness is a sensory defect that often limits the shelf life of dulce de leche, the calculated sensory limits could be used in future studies to estimate the sensory shelf life of dulce de leche.