Submitted to: Journal of Sensory Studies
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/14/2001
Publication Date: 12/1/2002
Citation: MCNEILL, K.L., SANDERS, T.H., CIVILLE, G.V. DESCRIPTIVE ANALYSIS OF COMMERCIALLY AVAILABLE CREAMY STYLE PEANUT BUTTERS. JOURNAL OF SENSORY STUDIES. 2002. v. 17. p. 391-414. Interpretive Summary: Evaluations of commercial products, such as peanut butter, are helpful in determining the factors that affect consumer purchase. Identification of both positive and negative factors provides information on which to base research to improve the commodity. This descriptive sensory analysis study of commercial peanut butter by a trained panel was conducted to provide data which can be compared to consumer data previously collected. A statistical analysis of the data will provide not only information on flavor characteristics, but will be helpful in determining if data from a descriptive panel can be used to predict the responses from consumers. These correlations are very important because of the high cost and time involved in evaluating products by consumers versus evaluation by a descriptive panel. The information gathered in this study indicated distinct and consistent differences among the major brands and store brands sand verified the importance of roast peanut flavor, color and texture as previously indicated by consumers. Research directed at roast processing, peanuts as ingredients and how these interact to give consistent but different products is given precise focus for future research.
Technical Abstract: Two consumer focus group sessions, with a total of 20 participants, were conducted to gather information on consumer vocabulary for appearance, flavor and texture attributes and appropriateness of attribute scales for commercially available peanut butter. Participants were asked to describe peanut butter and identify each descriptor as a positive or negative attribute of the product. To examine the utility of the vocabulary, participants tasted four distinctly different, unidentified peanut butter samples. The results indicated that the samples differed on most of the descriptors and suggested that these consumers were able to discriminate between various brands of peanut butter on specific appearance, flavor, and textural attributes. The focus groups provided a vocabulary for the development of a quantitative consumer test questionnaire and increased understanding of consumer language for peanut butter. The questionnaire developed from the results of the focus group sessions was used for subsequent quantitative consumer testing.