Food testing is an essential part of the successful launch of any new food product. Market research is essential for food companies because this is one of the most competitive consumer markets.
Over the last few years, the UK food and drink industry has experienced rapid growth, making it ripe for new product development. According to a recent study, UK citizens spent nearly £250m extra on groceries every week in 2020, marking a 30% increase in grocery spending.
Sadly, the increase in consumer spending does not guarantee that your product will be flying off the shelves. To grab and cement your position in the market, you will need to develop a high-quality product, which is only possible with thorough market research.
Food testing research allows you to understand how consumers will respond to your product and gives you an opportunity to make the necessary adjustments.
But which research methodology is suitable for your product?
There are several research methods involved in food testing. The right food research method will depend on your product’s unique characteristics. Below we discuss the different food research methods that can help your product succeed.
Product acceptance research, such as taste testing, allows you to understand how your target audience will respond to your product. The research can be conducted using central location testing or home-use testing.
The data gathered from taste testing can help you adjust your product in accordance with consumer tastes, or you can use it to gauge how competitive your product is in the market. New products entering the market can use the data acquired from taste testing to reassure retailers that there is a demand for their product. The reassurance can go a long way to securing shelf space in busy UK supermarkets.
Taste testing can be used to determine how your product compares with your competitors. Using this data will allow you to approach new customers with proof that your product outperforms competitors, or you can use those insights to improve your existing products. An added benefit of this research method is increased exposure to your target market, which, in turn, can increase sales.
Sensory research takes the ‘liking’ out of product research and relies on trained panellists to measure your product against critical parameters. These measures are then used to create a unique sensory profile of your product or a competitor’s.
Unlike taste testers, sensory panellists have a higher than average sensory acuity, which gives them a greater ability to identify different smells and tastes. Experienced sensory panellists can provide comprehensive overviews of various product changes that can allow you to develop the best tasting product, and consequently, maximise your sales.
Focus group studies are a form of qualitative research that will allow you to understand consumer opinions and reasoning. The studies generally see eight respondents come together and discuss research topics in detail for up to two hours.
These discussions are not chit-chats among friends. Instead, respondents are led by accredited moderators and are focused on providing detailed feedback that can be invaluable in the early stages of your product development. Focus group studies can help you develop an effective new product launch or help you gain feedback on product design.
Your product’s packaging is a fundamental part of its market success. Customers buy with their eyes. If your product fails to stand out from the shelf, it is less likely to make its way to a customer’s basket. Packaging research helps you make the right first impression, tempting your potential customers into buying your product.
Through proper packaging research, you will be able to convey your intended message to customers, promote your product, and correctly position your efficacy claims.
Packaging research can be conducted through central location testing by replicating a supermarket shelf and allowing participants to pick up tangible products. The testing can also be conducted virtually, with participants evaluating various on-screen packaging options.
Packaging research methodologies can provide accurate, detailed results that will help you develop and improve your product before launching it onto the market.
Wirral Sensory Services (WSS) have been conducting tailored food and market research for over 20 years. Our research has helped brands across the UK optimise their products, improve customer satisfaction, and ultimately, increase sales.
At WSS, we understand how important it is for your product to stand out from among the crowded shelves in retail environments. Whether you are a startup or a global brand, our wide range of research methodologies can help your business research its goals.
Get in touch with us today to find out more about how we can help you develop industry-leading products.