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Sensory consumer expectations testingFrom March 2008 Newsletter
New research will help companies understand the contribution of on-pack sensory information to shaping consumers' expectations of products - and to use this understanding in their product development and marketing.
The first stage of the project has involved an assessment of sixty products - ranging from drinks, sauces and condiments to cheese, desserts, ready-meals and snacks. On-pack 'sensory messages' - including descriptions and images - were captured, evaluated and compared with 'expectation' and 'experience' scores derived for the same product. Seventy-seven different sensory terms were identified, with any one pack carrying as many as eight. Those relating to taste and flavour were the most common, in particular sourness/acidity and specific aromas. Three quarters of products were rated as having clear (satisfactory to very good) sensory information. For 80% of these, this increased the likelihood of them being purchased.
The work will be extended through the use of focus groups discussing the usage of sensory communication and larger scale consumer research looking in-depth at the effects of sensory communication on consumer expectations and product choice.
Contact: Sarah Thomas