BLOG AND NEWS ITEMS
TIMES OF CRISIS CAN MAKE YOU STRONGER
By DANIELLE VAN HOUT
May 25, 2020
The Corona crisis hugely impacted sensory & consumer research. Now, after weeks of lockdown, most companies have restarted their sensory and consumer research.
Nonetheless, everything seems very different from how it used to be… Fieldwork becomes more cumbersome, time-consuming and also more expensive, with less people testing at the same time and tests spread over several sessions.
But there is also a positive side… as times of crisis are often the best times to embrace new opportunities. By critically reviewing “normal ways of working” and see how these can be improved.
ARE YOU READY?
Yet, are you ready to challenge yourself and look through a magnifying glass at your previous sensory and consumer research?
Are you ready for questions like: What did we learn from all our earlier research? What do we now know about our consumers and products? Which studies delivered meaningful results that are still useful and relevant? Which results are not useful anymore? How can we make future studies more effective, ensuring future-proof results?
WHAT WILL IT DELIVER?
- Better predictions from your own knowledge-base
- Fewer and smaller studies
- Faster innovation and product optimisation
Are you curious about these opportunities for your company and how DEE-PRIME can help you seize them? Feel free to schedule an informal call with us by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We would love to hear from you!
LOWERING SUGAR AND SALT IN BABYSTEPS
Lowering sugar and salt in processed foods and beverages is a huge challenge across the industry. Now and then we see an article describing the difficulty of lowering such “taste-makers” with the risk of consumer rejecting the products.
Last month’s Foodnavigator reported how Nestlé has sugar reduction on their corporate agenda and they developed amazing technologies, such as hollow sugar crystals, for reducing sugar whilst maintaining the desired sweet taste. Unfortunately the sugar-reduced Milkybar Wowsomes failed in the marketplace. The experts in the article contribute this to two factors. The sugar reduction might have been too large implement at once – if a product changes too much consumers might notice and reject the product. Also the communication on pack, “30% less sugar”, might have scarified consumers who were just looking for a tasty snack without compromizing taste.
For such challenges we designed Babysteps, a series of sensory and consumer research for determining the best strategy to introduce product changes. Using Babysteps we investigated the size of differences that consumers can perceive, and the effects of communicating about such a change to consumers. This information is crucial to develop a successful reformulation strategy. We shared different elements of this Babysteps approach at international conferences, in 2015 at Pangborn in Sweden, in 2016 at Sensometrics in the UK, and in 2018 at the Institute For Perception symposium in the United States. Some of these presentations can still be downloaded at the websites.
INTERVIEW WITH JOHN ENNIS, AIGORA
A few weeks ago I talked with Dr. John Ennis of Aigora as part of a series of AigoraCasts where he interviews experts in sensory and consumer science to discuss the impact of new technologies. We had an interesting talk, John is very up to date on all that is happening in this area. One of the most impactful technologies is definitely digitalisation. The digital opportunities are enormous and we have all been excited by the examples presented at conferences and in papers. New text analysis tools make the use of qualitative consumer research or mining social media so much more easy. The computer power to handle huge data sets enables us to measure facial expressions, body functions and brain activities.
We also talked about an powerful digital opportunity that is sometimes forgotten. The re-use of results in knowledge bases and predictive models. Sensory and consumer research has the unique position being both in R&D and Marketing, so it can act as bridge. To successfully connect product to market, R&D and Marketing should be aligned in vision and have one voice. A strategic research plan ensures the right information is collected, and measured with effective future-proof approaches. For this, we have been working on effective sensory and ecologically valid consumer research approaches based on signal detection theory, with results in d-primes that can be compared directly across different methods and studies. Ideally suited for transforming todays research into tomorrows knowledge!