New Feature: DOD and Quality Rating Templates

We have released two new test templates - Degree of Difference (or Difference from Control) and Quality Rating (or Quality Score). The Degree of Difference (DOD) test helps you determine the magnitude of a sample’s difference from a known control or standard, and the Quality Rating test can help you identify samples that exemplify, or fail to meet, specified quality expectations.

Like other Line Score tests, these methods utilize scales with specific anchors that correspond with a sample’s relation to a known standard or concept. The averaged panelist responses can help quickly determine a product’s disposition and directly inform process decisions.

As with all Enterprise tests, these require an advanced sensory program with a highly trained panel and panel leader who can properly design and execute the test according to the company’s specific needs.

Degree of Difference (DOD)

With any properly designed test, the DOD’s application must catalyze a specific action. Whether the goal is to produce something similar to, or different from the control, the DOD can be used to find when a sample crosses a previously determined threshold to merit further investigation or determine success. Here’s what you need to know about the DOD:

  • Used to measure a sample’s proximity to a known control (from “No Difference” to “Very Large Difference”)
  • Can be executed using a 5, 8, or 11-point scale (all of which are available in DraughtLab)
  • Allows the analyst to both identify and quantify differences from a control
  • Works best for products that can maintain a static control
  • Requires a minimum of 15 highly trained panelists to accurately measure differences

The average number resulting from this test can be compared to the normal variation observed between samples or utilized outright to decide a product’s disposition. If the goal is to measure the impact of a process change in a sample that has multiple elements like a frozen meal, a DOD question for each meal component can be created to pinpoint specific drivers of overall variability. This can help you determine which element is impacted and to what degree, all in one test.

Quality Rating

The Quality Rating test can help identify deviations in a product, or within key product attributes. In companies where the concept of “quality” is well understood and defined, this test can effectively identify samples that vary from the ideal. Similar to the DOD, the resulting average score can be used to flag samples, and elements within a sample, that vary beyond the acceptable level. Here’s what you need to know about the Quality Rating test:

  • Utilizes a scale indicating the product’s quality from “Very Poor” to “Excellent”
  • Most appropriately applied in companies who have a common understanding for quality criteria
  • Provides clear data outcomes that can directly inform decisions
  • Requires a minimum of 15 highly trained panelists to accurately measure differences

The inherent subjectivity of the concept of “quality” poses unique challenges in standardizing this test. Because the Quality Rating test does not provide results that are purely objective, it is best applied when the decision allows for, or even requires, a certain level of subjectivity. With this in mind, a favorite application of the Quality Rating is in Shelf Life determination where the average score can be used to observe shifts in a sample’s overall quality and acceptability over time. This can help decision makers determine a shelf life cutoff once a sample crosses a specified quality threshold.

Get Started

When used properly, both tests can lend unique insight into your products and help inform specific production decisions. These tests are now available in the Enterprise tier of the DraughtLab software. Feel free to reach out with any questions and/or to get started using these tests at

DraughtLab offers practical and approachable Sensory Analysis Solutions that deliver real-world value to food and beverage companies. Visit our website or reach out to us at to learn more!