BS EN ISO 5495:2005+A1:2016 - Sensory analysis. Methodology. Paired comparison test

BS EN ISO 5495:2005+A1:2016

Sensory analysis. Methodology. Paired comparison test

Status : Confirmed, Current   Published : January 2006



This International Standard describes a procedure for determining whether there exists a perceptible sensory difference or a similarity between samples of two products concerning the intensity of a sensory attribute. This test is sometimes also referred to as a directional difference test or a 2-AFC test (Alternative Forced Choice). In fact, the paired comparison test is a forced choice test between two alternatives.


The paired comparison test is the simplest existing classification test since it concerns only two samples.

The method is applicable whether a difference exists in a single sensory attribute or in several, which means that it enables determination of whether there exists a perceptible difference concerning a given attribute, and the specification of the direction of difference, but it does not give any indication of the extent of that difference. The absence of difference for the attribute under study does not signify that there does not exist any difference between the two products.

This method is only applicable if the products are relatively homogeneous.

The method is effective

  1. for determining

    • whether a perceptible difference exists (paired difference test), or

    • whether no perceptible difference exists (paired similarity test) when, for example, modifications are made to ingredients, processing, packaging, handling or storage operations, or

  2. for selecting, training and monitoring assessors.

It is necessary to know, prior to carrying out the test, whether the test is a one-sided test (the test supervisor knows a priori the direction of the difference, and the alternative hypothesis corresponds to the existence of a difference in the expected direction) or a two-sided test (the test supervisor does not have any a priori knowledge concerning the direction of the difference, and the alternative hypothesis corresponds to the existence of a difference in one direction or the other).

The paired test can also be used in order to compare two products in terms of preference. The different cases of use of the paired test are summarized in Figure 1.

[Image removed.]


(Case a) The production of a biscuit has been modified in order to render it more crisp. It is desired to check whether this increase is perceptible. Therefore it is necessary to try to highlight a difference to see whether the new product is perceived as being crispier than the usual product (control).


(Case b) A manufacturer knows that the product may contain traces of an ingredient which imparts an off-flavour to the product. He therefore wishes to determine the maximum acceptable quantity so that the flavour difference with a reference product without this ingredient is barely perceptible and therefore without any regrettable consequences.


(Case c) It is desired to produce a new soup and to compare two ingredients which will provide the salty flavour. For cost-intensive reasons, the ingredient which, at the same concentration, will provide the strongest salty flavour is sought. Therefore it is necessary to try to highlight a difference. It is not known a priori which ingredient will produce the strongest salty flavour.


(Case d) A manufacturer of plastics used, in particular, by car manufacturers for dashboards is seeking, for economic reasons, to replace the usual lubricant by a new one, but does not wish that the new plastics formula be perceived as presenting less or more surface slip than the usual one. It is a question of determining whether, for a same concentration, the new lubricant provides the same “surface slip” level as the usual product. It is necessary to show that both lubricants are similar in terms of “surface slip”, but it is not known a priori which lubricant can produce the highest surface slip characteristics.

Standard NumberBS EN ISO 5495:2005+A1:2016
TitleSensory analysis. Methodology. Paired comparison test
StatusConfirmed, Current
Publication Date30 January 2006
Confirm Date10 May 2018
Normative References(Required to achieve compliance to this standard)ISO 6658:1985, ISO 8586-2:1994, ISO 8586-1:1993, ISO 5492:1992, ISO 8589:1988
Informative References(Provided for Information)ISO 3534-1
ReplacesBS 5929-2:1982
International RelationshipsEN ISO 5495:2007/A1:2016,ISO 5495:2005/Amd 1:2016,ISO 5495:2005
Amended ByAMD 16563
Amendment, May 2016; Corrigendum, January 2008
Draft Superseded By15/30313067 DC
DescriptorsExperimental design, Comparative tests, Statistical methods of analysis, Food testing, Testing conditions, Paired comparison tests, Food products, Sensory analysis (food), Statistical testing
Title in FrenchAnalyse sensorielle. Methodologie. Essai de comparaison par paires
Title in GermanSensorische Analyse. Pruefverfahren. Paarweise Vergleichsprüfung
ISBN978 0 580 88047 6
File Size905 KB

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