Good cooks do it all the time. People in the food industry do it too.
As consumers of food products our tastes are constantly changing. The food industry is well aware of this and makes every effort to ensure that its products meet both current standards as well as today’s newest taste trends. Taste testing is an important step in the introduction of a new or proposed food product and in the introduction of “new” and “improved” products. These tests are also used to compare a manufacturers’ product to a competitor’s product.
There are 2 ways to implement taste testing:
Mall Intercepts: Consumers are randomly selected from individuals walking through a mall. If they agree to participate in the study, they are prescreened through a brief questionnaire to ensure that they fit the consumer profile the manufacturer wants to target. Following that, they are taken to a location in the mall where they sample the food product and answer a series of questions. All participants are asked the same questions, the same way. The majority of these tests are “blind”. The consumer does not know what brand he or she is tasting.
Taste-test Facilities: For testing that occurs in a taste-test facility, participants are prescreened (or “pre-recruited”) as consumers of the product. When a taste study is initiated, the research company contacts the “prerecruits” and invites them in to participate in a taste-test study. Taste-test facilities can be found in traditional research facilities (at Matousek we have a full kitchen specifically for this purpose) or in facilities specifically designed to accommodate test tasting research exclusively.
When products are taste tested we look for information like:
- Overall rating
- Likes & Dislikes
- Pleasing or displeasing texture
- Presence of an aftertaste
- Likelihood to purchase
While this all sounds like fun (and it usually is) there is a science to taste testing. The data has to be translated into usable statistics. In addition, at Matousek, we also apply JAR Scales (that stands for “just about right”). These scales measure how closely the product matches what people want.
As always, results are analyzed, tabulated and a full report is written for the client.
If you would like to find out more about taste-testing, please call us.