PLS methodology to study relationships between hedonic judgements and product characteristics

M. TENENHAUS, J. Pagès, L. Ambroisine, C. Guinot

Food Quality and Preference

June 2005, vol. 16, n°4, pp.315-325

Departments: Economics & Decision Sciences

Keywords: Hierarchical multi-block PLS model, PLS approach, PLS path modelling, PLS regression, Sensory analysis

This paper depicts a methodology devoted to a situation where a few products are described by many physico-chemical and sensory characteristics, and are evaluated by consumers on a preference scale. The objective is to relate the block of hedonic variables to the physico-chemical and to the sensory blocks. The analysis of the link between the responses and the predictors using PLS regression allows to cluster the consumers in homogeneous groups with respect to their tastes, and in such a way that their behaviour can be related to the characteristics of the products. For each group, PLS regression allows obtaining a graphical display of the products with their characteristics, and a mapping of the consumers based on their preferences. Moreover, PLS path modelling allows a detailed analysis of each group by building a causal scheme: each block of consumers is related to the physico-chemical and the sensory blocks, and the sensory block is itself related to the physico-chemical block. Finally this PLS path modelling is compared with hierarchical multi-block PLS model