Info

Note: selected attriutes shown.

All ingredients held constant at the midpoint of the design (each variable held at "2"). Then each independent variable (ingredients A-E, cooking process was separately increased in small steps from a low of 1 to a high of 3. The numbers in the table show changes in attributes, including cost of goods and consumer ratings.

Note: selected attriutes shown.

All ingredients held constant at the midpoint of the design (each variable held at "2"). Then each independent variable (ingredients A-E, cooking process was separately increased in small steps from a low of 1 to a high of 3. The numbers in the table show changes in attributes, including cost of goods and consumer ratings.

these consumer ratings, expert panel ratings, etc. The product model plays a role in assuring quality, because it can be used in two distinct ways to control production:

1. Process Control. At the most basic level sensitivity analysis reveals how process or ingredient variations affect liking. Once the desired formulation has been located within the grid of alternative formulations, and the range of independent variables set (high to low for each independent variable), the investigator computes the sensitivity curves for each independent variable, holding the other independent variables fixed (at the prescribed level for production). The changes in the sensory ratings show how the independent variable affects the sensory character of the product (viz, sensory attributes). The change in liking indicates how changes in the independent variable affect acceptance.

Quality control tables based upon sensitivity analyses highlight those independent variables which produce noticeable sensory changes, and the degree to which those changes generate acceptance changes in their wake. The manufacturer should maintain tighter control over the key critical variables (perhaps at greater cost) and maintain looser control (at lower cost) over the less important variables (where departure from the optimal or production specifications do not reduce acceptance nor affect sensory integrity).

The approach is consumer driven, because it is based upon the reactions of consumers to actual variations of the product, rather than hypothesis of what production variables might be important. It might well turn out that some variables play little or no role in determining acceptance, and can either be reduced to save money, or ignored by quality assurance over a wide range of levels. Conversely, more attention would then be paid to those important variables which influence acceptance.

2. Batch Analysis. The inter-relation among formula variables, consumer responses, instrumental variables, expert panel responses, and quality control panel responses assures quality at the production level on a batch-to-batch basis. Each batch is measured, either by experts, by the quality control panel, or by instruments. The measurements generate a goal profile. The goal profile determines a corresponding set of estimated ingredients or process variables which would generate that profile. Once the levels of the independent variables are estimated the model estimates the corresponding consumer sensory profile and/or the likely acceptance rating. As each batch emerges from the production line quality assurance can calculate the expected difference from the reference or "gold standard" on a sensory or acceptance basis. At the time of the measurement, plant personnel decide whether the product is sufficiently similar to a target standard (or reasonably acceptable) to warrant shipment, or whether the batch must be reworked (or even discarded).

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