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Taste Testing

Taste Testing Consumer Research

Taste testing is a crucial element of consumer research in the management and development of existing and new food products. Without it, there’s no way to gauge the unbiased opinions of your target consumer segment. It’s also a critical element of product benchmarking.

So what does the taste testing process involve and why is it so vital to small and large companies alike?

What Is Taste Testing?

 

Taste tests are one of the most crucial aspects of market research undertaken for food and beverage products. Fundamentally, taste testing is the process of using consumers to taste products in a controlled environment and then give their opinion.

Taste testing is considered a quantitative consumer research method and is frequently used as part of the broader process of product benchmarking. Benchmarking helps companies to understand how well a specific product performs against competitors or establishes whether a new product formulation or recipe is worse, similar, or much better than the original.

Why Is Taste Testing So Important?

Carrying out taste testing is vital to understand how your product performs in the eyes of your target consumer segment. Given that the process is unbiased, it gives you a chance to gain valuable insights into how your target customers feel about your products. 

Just one controlled taste test could unveil a completely unexpected issue that can be quickly rectified and set your product on its way to a successful launch. However, it’s always best to carry out extensive taste testing to ensure that the reported findings are statistically significant and that you’ve uncovered every possible concern in the build-up to either the launch of a new product or the reimagining of an existing one.

What Does The Process Of Taste Testing Involve?

Broadly speaking, there are two types of tests, the first of which is Single Product Tests. These tests involve panellists testing a single product in isolation and subsequently giving their views. These tests can be repeated at frequent intervals to allow your company to become aware of any changes in their tastes or perceptions of the product as you progress towards a market launch.

By contrast, Comparison Taste Tests involve panellists trying more than one variation of the same product. This is ideal for determining which formulation consumers prefer or understanding how your product performs against competitor alternatives (product benchmarking).

Taste tests are carried out at a central location in a controlled environment. Participants taste the products ‘blind,’ meaning they don’t know which brand or formulation they are tasting. This ensures that no bias will occur because of a panellist’s pre-conceived opinions or notions about a particular brand or product.

Why Choose Wirral Sensory Services For Your Taste Testing Needs?

Here at Wirral Sensory Services, we’ve been carrying out unbiased taste testing (including as part of wider product benchmarking studies) since 1997. Our clients include some of the leading food and beverage brands in the UK, who trust us to carry out this vital research task.

We offer a completely bespoke taste testing service, always tailoring our market research to your timescales, budget, and objectives. We know that when you ask us to carry out vital consumer research, we aren’t just providing you with a service, we are helping you deliver the best possible consumer products. That’s why we treat every project with the respect it deserves, no matter how large or small.

So whether you are a start-up company looking to secure a spot on supermarket shelves, or you’re a well-established brand looking to evaluate a range of new recipe ideas, our high-quality and robust taste testing research can help your business.

Taste Testing

Product Acceptance

If you have a new product that you would like to launch, it makes sense to gauge consumer response from your target audience.

Product acceptance research allows you to see what the average consumer truly thinks of your product. You will get detailed analysis of product performance, broken down by specific attributes, which you can use to make any necessary tweaks to your product. The data can also be used to validate how good the product is and how likely it is to succeed in a competitive market place.

Positive results can also be instrumental in providing reassurance to retailers that there is a demand for the product, it is of high quality, and therefore likely to be a success.

This type of research can be done in a central location with strict scientific conditions or as a home use test where consumers use / eat the product in their normal manner.

Product Benchmarking

Benchmarking is the process of asking typical consumers to assess your products, along with those of your competitors, in order to find out where your product ranks is in terms of consumer preference. It is usually carried out in a central location using a representative sample of your target market. A central location test provides a controlled environment where we can ensure test products are prepared and delivered under identical conditions.

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We can find out how consumers rate your products compared to others on the supermarket shelf. We ask a series of detailed questions to target each product’s main attributes such as appearance, aroma, flavour, texture and overall acceptance.

We then analyse the data using statistical significance to see if there are genuine differences between products for each attribute. If any statistically significant differences are seen, one product can be considered preferred to another product for this attribute.

Using this data, clients also have the ability to either approach new customers with evidential proof that their product outperforms the competition, or use it in a way to improve their current products. Consequently, clients would hope to see increased exposure to potential consumers, and thus an increase in sales.

 

The Case Study

A leading savoury pastry brand wanted to determine their position in the marketplace by assessing the performance of their core product lines against those of their main competitors. There was a range of products to assess and a large number of competitor products for comparison.