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Napping From February 2011 newsletter

Napping - an easier way of assessing product characteristics

Recent research has shown that the Napping technique may provide industry with a cheaper and simpler method for gathering sensory information, as an alternative to conventional profiling. In Napping, assessors position products on a flat surface (typically a large sheet of paper) according to overall similarities and differences.

Two sets of commercial products varying in degree of sensory complexity were chosen - strawberry yoghurt and sliced white bread. Eight trained panellists carried out both Napping and conventional profiling to allow for comparison of the methods.A potential alternative, Partial Napping, was also assessed. In this, assessors are asked to repeat the Napping exercise separately for different sensory features (e.g. appearance, odour, flavour and texture). This maintains the advantages of the original method (simplicity and rapidity), but has the added benefit of being closer to conventional profiling.

Benefits and limitations

The Napping technique was a very simple way of obtaining the desired information, and gave similar results to conventional profiling in terms of product characterisation. However, the study highlighted a certain degree of product specificity: the yoghurts were better characterised using the Napping method, but conventional profiling was preferable for bread. Based on these findings, we will be able to further improve our

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Contact: Chantal Gilbert
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