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Laboratory Methods in Sensory Evaluation of Food
FOOD 529
Instructor: Dr. Margaret Cliff
Office: FNH 323
Office Hours: TBA
Class Schedule: Lecture Tues 1pm-2pm

Tutorial Tues 2pm-3pm
Lab Wed 12:30-3:30pm

Classroom: Lecture/Tutorial FNH 30

Lab FNH 140

Important Course Pages
Lecture Notes
Course Discussion

Updated Syllabus

File:FOOD 529.pdf

Course Description

This course is designed to equip students with the skills necessary to conduct objective assessment of foods. It will provide students with the skills necessary to conduct scientifically sound, statistically valid evaluations for the food and beverages industries. Students will get hands-on experience with the data collection, data analysis, and interpretation of experimental results during eight laboratory sessions. Emphasis is placed on experiment design and the application and use of statistics. Students will improve their oral and written communication skills. Students will prepare executive summaries that describe: "what was done", "how it was done", "what was found", and "what was concluded". This course is intended for students interested in sensory evaluation of food and beverages. However, it is beneficial to all students desiring hands-on experience with statistical analyses and interpretation of experimental data.


  • Meilgaard, M., Civille, G.V. and B.T. Carr. 2007. Sensory Evaluation Techniques. CRC Press. Boca Raton, FL. Full online text available at the UBC library:
  • Poste, L.M., Mackie, D.A., Butler, B. and Larmond, E. 1991. Laboratory Methods for Sensory Analysis of Foods, Agriculture Canada Publication 1864/E (FOOD 529 posted on CONNECT).

Course Objectives

  1. To develop an understanding of sensory psychology and physiology
  2. To select and implement appropriate sensory methodology for a specified objective
  3. To understand the capabilities and limitations of sensory tests
  4. To gain experience in data collection, data analysis, and interpretation of sensory data
  5. To gain hands-on experience with conducting statistical analyses
  6. To develop written and oral communication skills
  7. To gain experience with the preparation of executive summaries, describing: "what was done", "how it was done", "what was found", and "what was concluded".


Students should have had one introductory statistics class.

Lecture Topics

Week Lecture Topic
1 Introduction and Orientation
2 Scope of Sensory Evaluation.
Physiology of Aroma and Taste.
CBC Video: Nature of Things "Science of the Senses"
3 Difference Testing (paired comparison, duo-trio, triangle, R-index)
4 Determination of Sensory Thresholds
5 Ranking, Rating, and Magnitude Estimation Methodology
6 Lab 4 Group Presentations
7 Statistical Analysis (MS Excel)
8 Statistical Analysis (MINITAB)
9 Descriptive Analysis: Multivariate Statistics: Principle Component Analysis
10 Lab 7 Group Presentations
11 Consumer Research - Affective Tests, Advanced Statistics
TED Video Lecture Series: Malcolm Gladwell - Consumer Market Segmentation
Use of Human Subjects Research Ethics Board Approval
12 Preference Mapping - Understanding consumer preference and drivers-of-liking
13 Guest Speaker: Dr. Michelle Chen "New Techniques in Consumer Data Collection" (eye-tracking, emotions, social media) formerly of Campden BRI, Gloustershire, UK.
Other Topics: Time Intensity Evaluation, Panel Selection and Training of Judges Quality Evaluations, Designing a Sensory Laboratory

Laboratory Topics

Date (2015) Laboratory Topics Percent Activity Due Date
Jan 7 Lab 0: Introduction and Orientation
Jan 14 Lab 1: Aroma Recognition 10% Report
Jan 21 Lab 2: Difference Tests

( Paired Comparison, Duo-Trio, Triangle, R-index)

10% Report Lab 1 due
Jan 28 Lab 3: Thresholds and t-tests 12% Report Lab 2 due
Feb 4 Lab 4: Ranking, Rating, and Magnitude Estimation 10% Group Presentation and Abstract Lab 3 due
Feb 11 Lab 5: Texture Profile for White Rice 14% Report Lab 4 presentation
READING BREAK (Feb 16-20, 2015)
Feb 25 Lab 6: Descriptive Analysis of Orange Juice 14% Report Lab 5 due
Mar 4 Lab 7: Balanced Incomplete Block Designs/Just-About-Right (JAR) Scales 10% Group Presentation and Abstract
Mar 11 Lab 8: Medium of Dispersion/Intensity and Hedonic Relationships Lab 6 due
April 7 Pass out Take-home Final Exam (Lab 8 data) 15% Lab 7 presentation
Class/Lab Participation and Attendance 5% Lab 8 (final) TBD
TOTAL: 100%

LABORATORY INFORMATION: The laboratory experiments are teaching tools. They are designed to introduce and demonstrate sensory principles. Since students will participate as experimenters and judges, students may be more informed than usual. The lab objectives are NOT to test the students' tasting abilities, but rather to provide experimental data for statistical analyses and interpretation.

After each laboratory, students will decode and tabulate their responses. The complied experimental data will be posted on CONNECT for all students to access. Students will perform statistical analysis (Excel, MINITAB) and answer questions, as outlined in the laboratory manual.

SPECIAL GROOMING: Students are instructed NOT to apply scented toiletries (perfumes, aftershaves, handcreams) on the day of the laboratory.