The methodologies applied for product optimization are diverse, but they share the common underlying assumption that an ideal product exists. A core assumption underlying this thinking is that consumer disliking of the product is a weighted linear combination of the absolute attribute level deviations from the ideal product. More formally, this can be expressed as

h H b z yjp jp a

∑− − 1

( ) (4.1)

where hjp is the consumer liking judgment for product p ba is the relative importance of deviations on attribute a for consumer’s

overall liking judgment yjpa is the consumer perception of product p on attribute a zjpa is the ideal level of attribute a that would generate maximum

liking Hjp

When the deviations from ideal are zero for the attributes impacting liking, liking is maximized.