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Case study: Revealing the dynamics of perception with Temporal Dominance of Sensations

8 Dec 2016


Temporal Dominance of Sensations  is a dynamic sensory method that allows to study the sequence of dominant sensations of a product during a certain time period.


Brioche is a sweet and rich bread with a French origin. It’s known for its buttery indulgent flavour and its soft and tender crumb. Although the bread was originally only eaten in France, brioches have since spread all over the globe.

After a few days or weeks, changes arise in the texture of brioches. The breads become harder and dry over time. Do consumers really perceive these difference or are only our experts noticing these changes? An in depth sensorial study seemed like the perfect method to look for answers to these questions.

How to understand what consumers like?

In a previous article we explained the preference mapping study as a method to understand what our consumers like. An additional sensory tool, called Temporal Dominance of Sensations (TDS) can also help us understand how consumers will perceive brioches during the course of consumption (covering both the mastication and the aftertaste).

What information does TDS provide?

TDS is a dynamic sensory method that allows to study the sequence of dominantsensations of a product during a certain time period.

Dominant has been defined in literature as the sensation that captures one’s attention, the most striking perception or the new sensation that pops up at a given time. It is not necessarily the most intense sensation.

With TDS we reveal:

  • The sequence of dominant sensations and qualitative changes perceived during the food consumption. What are the dominant sensations, and at what moment during consumption are these sensations dominating the perception? It is know that the importance of a sensation during eating is not necessarily the same as the one indicated by intensity ratings.
  • Interactions between attributes, as in TDS all attributes compete simultaneously for the attention of the judges.

TDS case study on our Soft’r melting in brioche

Our Soft’r Melting solution is based on the latest enzyme technology and it gives our brioches a supreme melting mouthfeel over the whole shelf life.We wish to reveal the sequence of dominant sensations perceived during the consumption of these Soft’r Melting brioches and eventually make the link with the consumer preferences. Since food consumption is a dynamic process, we expect that the description of the dominant sensations, and their changes perceived during consumption of the brioche, have the potential to reveal how consumers will perceive our brioche.

Our internal sensory judges  defined a list of 9 different attributes that could be perceived as dominant in brioche. This list of dominant attributes contained 2 taste & flavour sensations (sweet, dairy) and 7 mouthfeel sensations (chewy, dry, melting, moist, shortness, soft, sticky). The results of these TDS evaluations are visualized in a TDS curve. This curve shows the dominance rate of attributes against the standardized time for each sample.  Graph 1. illustrates such a TDS curve for the brioche with our Soft’r Melting technology inside.

It shows that the brioche with our Soft’r Melting technology inside starts with a dominating softness perception, the moment it is in the mouth. Then, consecutive short perception of dryness, and dairy flavour, quickly overtaken by dominance of sweetness for the remaining 1st half of mastication period. The 2nd half of mastication starts with simultaneous dominance of shortness, and a pronounced melting perception. Before swallowing there is pick up of dominating stickiness, and simultaneous dairy and sweetness perception. Leaving an aftertaste and afterfeel with some stickiness perception, and dominating sweet and dairy flavours.

This TDS trial was compared to a TDS evaluation for brioche without improver and the differences couldn’t be more obvious. The brioche without improver, was first perceived as dry, with this dominating dryness sensation remaining for the majority of the mastication period. Then, there was simultaneous dominance of stickiness and melting, with dominating dairy flavour picking up right before swallowing and lasting throughout the aftertaste.

The ultimate goal of this study is to compare these finding with the preference of the consumer which we’ll measure with our Sensobus in Belgium. A first small consumer study shows that the preference of the consumers clearly go to the brioche with our Soft’r Melting technology inside.

More information?

More results and information will follow in the course of 2017.

Until then, if you are interested in discovering more about our services of Sensory Analysis or are looking for assistance in driving concrete projects, please :