In the past few years, a growing number of multilayer, multitexture, and multiflavor products have emerged in the dairy dessert category. These products are appealing and often defined by consumers as being more complex. Capturing the full sensory experience that arises from the consumption of such products is a challenge and sensory methods need to be adapted to characterize these innovative products.
To address this need, we aimed to develop a way to characterize the full sensory experience associated with heterogeneous deserts, from the first spoon to the last. This objective was achieved through three successive stages, using a set of bi-layers chocolate desserts such as mousse-cream, mousse-mousse and cream-coulis as a case study. First, we conducted an observational study (N=30) both in sensory booths and in a group meal context to characterize consumption behaviours of bi-layers desserts. This helped us to define the most representative spoon path in a cup for this product space. Secondly, based on these results and following the guidelines for conventional descriptive analysis we gathered a panel (N=14) to determine the best procedure to characterize the temporal sensory evolution between spoons. Careful discussion with the panellists led us to adapt sequential profiling. This method was found to be precise enough to support the understanding of perceived complexity and it allowed analysis at the individual level. Finally, this panel was further trained in order to characterize seven bi-layers chocolate desserts using this adapted procedure. Results revealed a diversity of temporal sensory evolution between products and helped to understand complexity perceived at the individual level.