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population of subjects. Only with an approach of this kind can one examine not only each of the three aspects taken separately, but also the interactions between the three spheres and their reciprocal influences.
It is on the basis of this observation that the author has developed in the laboratory an integrated approach methodology, which aims to obtain a clearer understanding of the interaction of these three series of factors and, in addition, the consumers' perception of the products (34, 35). Without going into too many technical details here, it should be made clear that this is a series of three measurement scales, each concerning one of the three aspects mentioned above. Several populations have been investigated, each being questioned about several foods. Here only the findings concerning chocolate are presented.
The product investigated in this case is Lindt Dark Chocolate (70% cocoa). The study concerned a preliminary population of 41 adults (average age 34 years); a second study was duplicated on a population of 27 adults (same average age). The results presented here concern the second population only, knowing that the series of results from both studies agree.
In the case of the organoleptic data, the descriptors characterizing the different products came from a preliminary study on an ordinary population of adults who were asked to describe the different products. The statistically most consensual categories were adopted and thus formed the scale applied to the other populations. Thus in the case of chocolate, 35 classification categories from among the 269 spontaneously supplied by the consumers were chosen.
Perceived pleasure was estimated with the help of unstructured analogue scales in two ways: on the one hand a global assessment, and on the other hand for each organoleptic classification category perceived by the subject.
Finally, the ideational approach was investigated using a multiple-choice questionnaire, developed for the purposes of the study (Fig. 22.1).
The study of the relationship between perceived sensory intensity and hedonic rating is interesting. There is a strong and significant correlation between the two series of findings (r2 = 0.76). This co-variation illustrates an important point in the construction of perception of the product. In fact, dark chocolate is now a product that is not only known but also appreciated. The clearer and more perceptible the apparent signs enabling him or her to recognize and identify it colour, odour and texture first of all, aroma, taste and mouth-feel after that the more the consumer appreciates it. The more easily perceived they are, the more intense the feeling of pleasure.
It should be emphasized that this is not an experimental artefact. On other products the same subjects did not show the same correlation. It is the agreement between expectation, sensory perception and the hedonic aspect which indicates in this case not only a certain consistency in the consumers, but also the fact that the chocolate in question benefits from a very specific and expected presentation.
Moreover, the average hedonic score attributed to the product is high: 8.07 before tasting, 7.17 after tasting on a 10-point scale, with a significant correlation
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