The Sensory and Food Quality section of JFS publishes research, original and applied, related to the sensory and quality aspect of foods, beverages, ingredients, and so forth. Researchers considering submitting manuscripts or initiating research with intent of submitting to this section should familiarize themselves with the general guidelines provided by the journal and those prepared by the Sensory Evaluation Division of IFT, below. These guidelines are intended to serve as a tutorial for authors as they prepare their manuscripts as it reflects what reviewers will be looking for as they go through the review process. Researchers not directly involved in sensory or quality testing are well advised to consult with associates in these fields and/or read current texts cited in the aforementioned guidelines.
For manuscripts focused on sensory quality, authors must be sure that their manuscripts not only include the basic required elements (title page, abstract, introduction, objective(s), materials and methods, results and discussion, and conclusions), but give particular attention to defining what is meant by “quality” as used in their research. Too often authors assume that reviewers and interested readers know what is meant without actually defining it. Too often, researchers provide many pages of text describing product preparation and handling but only 2 or 3 lines of text about the sensory test on which the results and conclusions are based. Requirements such as a detailed description of the participating subjects including the selection criteria and the number of subjects and how and why they were chosen are essential. Similarly, details describing the sensory method, the experimental design, and the test protocol including the number of evaluations provided by each subject, the statistical treatment, and the results (means, variance measures, etc.) are necessary. To the extent necessary, original data files may be requested. Manuscripts submitted without this information have a high likelihood of being returned without review. Referencing published guidelines from organizations such as ASTM or ISO is not sufficient to describe the sensory methodology employed. Editors, associate editors, and reviewers cannot be expected to evaluate the merits of your research without access to the details.
For manuscripts focused on quality, the research may be based on results from sensory tests, consumer judgments, nutrition, and/or physical and chemical analyses. Authors need to be clear as to how they are using the word “quality” so that reviewers know the context for their review of the manuscript. Here, too, simply using the word “quality” is not sufficient. Relating sensory properties with physical, chemical, and functional properties is highly encouraged.
Guidelines for the Preparation and Review
of Papers Reporting Sensory Evaluation Data
by the IFT Sensory Evaluation Division
THE SENSORY EVALUATION DIVISION of the Institute of Food Technologists has prepared the following recommended policies and guidelines for use by authors in preparing manuscripts which include sensory information, as well as for use by reviewers when evaluating the suitability of such manuscripts for publication.
The supplementary instructions presented here are intended to help authors determine whether their work: (1) is suitable for publication in JFS, and (2) conforms to special JFS protocols, if the topic of the submitted manuscript is in one of the following areas: Engineering/Physical Properties, Foodservice, Fruits and Vegetables, Microbiology, Nutrition, Seafood, or Sensory Evaluation. These instructions were also published in J Food Sci 67(9):3553 (2002).
Materials and Methods
In addition to information on instruments, reagents, experimental methods/design, and statistical treatment of data, the following information should be provided:
1. Sensory method(s) used
- Difference/discrimination test type [threshold, absolute or recognition; paired, duo-trio, triangle, AFC, multiple sample, etc.; other (describe)]
- Descriptive Analysis test type [Flavor Profile®; Texture Profile®; QDA Method®; Spectrum®; Time-Intensity; other(describe)]
- Preference test [paired; ranking]
- Hedonic test [overall liking (9-pt hedonic scale); attribute rating; other(describe)]
- Number of subjects used
- Selection and panel management
3. Test Conditions (include relevant units for conditions)
4. Analysis (specify types; e.g., means, variance, AOV with repeated trials)
- Selection criteria [Employee\nonemployee (provide relevant details); Demographics (age, gender, if relevant), Past experience, if relevant; Skill, if known]
- Management [Informed consent statement (if appropriate); Incentives, if provided; Basis for eliminating panelists or data (describe); Other (describe)]
- Location (laboratory, central location, etc.)
- Environment controls (if relevant)
- Source (retail, pilot plant, etc.)
- Processing conditions
- Storage conditions
- Preparation methods
- Handling [Quantity, temperature, serving size]
- Order of presentation
- Number of samples evaluated per session
- Instructions to panelists (before and during test)
- Expectorating or swallowing
- Use of carriers (specify)
- Time interval between samples
- Type of scorecard (paper of direct data entry)