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Keywords:

  • consumer studies;
  • hedonic rating;
  • hedonic score;
  • rank analysis;
  • ranking

Abstract

Hedonic ranking is one of the commonly used methods to evaluate consumer preferences. Some authors suggest that it is the best methodology for discriminating among products, while others recommend hedonic rating. These mixed findings suggest the statistical outcome(s) are dependent on the experimental conditions or a user's expectation of “what is” and “what is not” desirable for evaluating consumer preferences. Therefore, sensory and industry professionals may be uncertain or confused regarding the appropriate application of hedonic tests. This paper would like to put this controversy to rest, by evaluating 3 data sets (3 yogurts, 79 consumers; 6 yogurts, 109 consumers; 4 apple cultivars, 70 consumers) collected using the same consumers and by calculating nontied ranks from hedonic scores. Consumer responses were evaluated by comparing bivariate associations between the methods (nontied ranks, tied ranks, hedonic rating scores) using trellis displays, determining the number of consumers with discrepancies in their responses between the methods, and comparing mean values using conventional statistical analyses. Spearman's rank correlations (0.33–0.84) revealed significant differences between the methods for all products, whether or not means separation tests differentiated the products. The work illustrated the inherent biases associated with hedonic ranking and recommended alternate hedonic methodologies.

Practical Application

This research compared hedonic ranking and rating methodologies, and provided the food professional with the information to select the appropriate hedonic methodology.