Consumer research is used to measure overall liking and acceptability and/or preference of a product as well as gain consumer opinions regarding current or new products. Two main methods include Qualitative and Quantitative. Qualitative research, in the form of a focus group, is conducted among users of a product or category to gain consumers opinions. Quantitative research gathers ratings for hedonic/liking along with attribute/diagnostic ratings to determine acceptance, likeability and preference of a product or products. Some sensory projects may warrant both methods for a clearer understanding from a consumer’s perceptive.
The key to a successful Consumer Panel is coordinating a test design which solicits comprehensive feedback to achieve the goal of your project. The Sensory Insights team partners with the client to gain a clear understanding of the project and test objective. This information is essential to ensure the correct demographic of consumers is recruited to participate on the test, along with correct testing methodology and sample selection.
Consumer testing can be utilized to screen a larger number of possible prototypes to a smaller manageable subset, determine overall preference or liking of a product or product category by a group of consumers from a particular demographic or gain preference or liking of the products sensory properties (appearance, aroma, flavor and texture). Consumer acceptance testing can also identify how a product compares to the competition or how a cost reduction may impact a product’s acceptance or preference.
Qualitative research can take place in the form of focus groups, interviews or observational research. These forms measure a consumer’s response concerning the sensory properties of a product. Focus group paired with a home-use-test is very beneficial to utilize prior to launching a product into the marketplace to detect any issues with product performance and meeting consumers expectations.