Do consumers want American food?

Seeing the words “Made in the USA” on a grocery store product is a breath of fresh air to a skeptical American Shopper. A product of any other country equals a heightened fear of the unknown and complex supply chain that is imported foods. In a recent food safety survey from Deloitte 47% of consumers state they are very concerned about the safety of imported foods.

However, with the demand by Americans for variety and low cost goods, the billion dollar business of food imports is booming in the United States. Interestingly in that same survey when asked about reading the country of origin labels on products, only 19% of shoppers report reading them all the time. It might be interesting to do a customer perception study of putting country of origin on front of pack in a similar way to the recent moves in nutrition – and how much more they would be willing to pay!

Posted in Consumer Science |

Penalty Analysis – Getting more from Sensory Research

Penalty analysis is a statistical technique that can be run on Just About Right (JAR) scales to prioritize which attributes of a product most affect liking. My white paper on this is in the downloads section if you want to read more about it.

Posted in Consumer Science, Sensory Research |

Want new customers?

Dell what are you doing? 2 weeks after the promised date and there was no sign of the new computer I ordered. When I called the response was “Well, sorry! You can purchase any other computer from other sources and if this computer arrives you can return it back with no obligations”.  So after years of being a loyal customer I am not going to buy Dell again and I’m telling all the people I know about my experience.

Research shows that acquiring new customers, depending on the industry, costs 3 to 5 times more than retaining existing ones.  But still companies keep going after new customers, ignoring the needs of the current customers.  What is your company doing to listen to your customers? Find out what they are thinking about you and your products before your competitor finds out and exploits your weakness.

Posted in Consumer Science |

Machines vs. Humans in Sensory Panels

Will taste panels soon be a thing of the past? Electronic tongues and noses are in
development with several different universities and companies across the world
(google electronic tongue for more information). Similar to human taste buds,
E-tongue has specific sensors that detect the chemical compounds responsible
for flavor, generates an electric impulse and with the help of software these
signals are translated into ‘a taste fingerprint’. Applications include
assessing sweeteners, wines and other liquidized products. The key benefit is
the consistency and repeatability of the results; where humans differ in their
sensitivity towards a taste perception.


However the machines can’t tell you which product it prefers. Currently useful application
for the machines is limited to assessing known specifications, preferably of
high volumes of similar products. Now why is it that some consumers prefer the
taste of Hunt’s ketchup while others swear by Heinz? Maybe we need those humans
for a little longer.


Posted in Sensory Research |

Consumers shop for Store Brands

We recently did some research for PL Buyer magazine on consumer attitudes to Store Brands. The really interesting point coming out, different to research from previous years, is that shoppers are now specifically choosing stores for their proprietary brands. Also interesting was that younger generations are much more accepting of Store Brands than older ones. If you want to read the full research you can get it from our dowload section.

Posted in Consumer Research, Consumer Science, Store Brands |

Welcome to Consumer Science

Check back soon for blog entries that are related to our industry of consumer opinions and product insights.

Posted in Consumer Science |