Marketing professionals and sensory scientists have several hedonic testing methods at their disposal to assess product acceptability. The central location test (CLT) which usually takes place in a standardised location under controlled conditions is more frequently used than the home use test (HUT). Given the artificial conditions of a CLT, it is assumed that a more realistic HUT yields more relevant hedonic data in spite of the uncontrolled conditions. This study compares CLT and HUT results using different types of products. Three experiments were conducted respectively with a fermented milk beverage, salted crackers and sparkling water. For each hedonic test, two samples were presented by a monadic sequential mode. The comparison of CLT and HUT data sets shows that for each category, the products get higher scores when tested at home (HUT) than when tested under CLT conditions. Also, we found that the influence of the method used depends on the type of product to be tested. The conclusion of the hedonic test (i.e. significant difference between the two products) is affected by the method for some products (crackers) whereas the conclusion remains unchanged for other products (fermented milk beverage and sparkling water). In order to explain the varying influence of the tasting conditions, some hypotheses based on the way the products are usually eaten are discussed.
- food acceptability
- social facilitation