Check-All-That-Apply (CATA) with semi-trained assessors: Sensory profiles closer to descriptive analysis or consumer elicited data?

N. Alexi*, E. Nanou, O. Lazo, L. Guerrero, K. Grigorakis, D. V. Byrne

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Check-All-That-Apply (CATA) is a simple and fast sensory profiling tool. Yet, its application has been mainly focused on consumer studies; the aim of this study was to evaluate the application of CATA with semi-trained (ST) individuals (N = 37). ST individuals were consumers who underwent 1 h of training with physical references on the definition of attributes included in the CATA ballot. ST-CATA results were compared, on a panel level, to Descriptive Analysis (DA) with trained panellists (N = 8) and to CATA with consumers (N = 70). Moreover, the effect of training was examined, to uncover training vs. method-related variations in CATA profiling. ST-CATA and DA exhibited the highest similarity in sample configurations (94%) for two Multiple Factor Analysis factors. For all 3 factors, similarity was over 95% for all method combinations; however the RV coefficient between consumers and DA was marginally significant (P =.08). The extent of explained sensory variations in ST-CATA was not negatively affected by the smaller panel size, compared to consumers’ CATA. Training had a positive effect on attributes’ citation frequency, identification of taste, flavour and complex attribute differences among samples. CATA results did not provide the same range of differences with DA, especially for texture. Overall results support the validity of CATA with ST assessors and suggest its potential for industrial use, when a timely and cost-efficient description of products is required. Attention should be given though when a detailed quantitative profile of sample differences is required, since intensity is not well represented by CATA derived measurements due to the method constraints.

Original languageEnglish
JournalFood Quality and Preference
Pages (from-to)11-20
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2018


  • CATA
  • Consumers
  • Descriptive analysis
  • Fast method
  • Training


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