The approach utilizes a series of filters - such as consumers, expert tasters and analytics - to generate a variety of data about a portfolio of relevant competitive products and consumer liking
The National Food Laboratory (NFL) has developed a leading-edge technique, Product Landscape, that it says is transforming how food and beverage companies understand consumer/product linkages in their categories' product landscapes.
Product Landscape takes traditional consumer testing to a deeper level to discover what product properties drive consumer liking.
The approach utilizes a series of filters - such as consumers, expert tasters and analytics - to generate a variety of data about a portfolio of relevant competitive products and consumer liking.
By applying up-to-date statistical methodology, these data are transformed to simplify the relationships among all the variables being considered.
The result is a clearer understanding of how unique product characteristics relate to very-defined market segments within the product space.
"Product Landscape has yielded very useful and often surprising findings for our clients," said Christie Hoyer, vice president of product development and evaluation at the NFL.
"One client had hypothesized that a doubling of an expensive ingredient would dramatically increase consumer preference; Product Landscape proved that the ingredient had little influence at all.
"The information enabled the customer to pursue a product development path that not only optimized other factors to increase consumer liking, but reduced cost at the same time".
In today's competitive landscape, where a minority of all new products developed are successful, Product Landscape can help increase the odds of success by identifying consumer-driven opportunities to increase market share.
"Product Landscape hits the mark for our clients who are always seeking efficient, powerful development tools to get to market faster with new or refined consumer-driven products," adds Kevin Buck, president of the NFL.
"Our approach brings together a broad spectrum of data into one package that provides clarity on research direction".
The NFL is a contract research and development facility specialising in consumer and sensory research, product and process development, chemistry and microbiology for the food and beverage industry.
With all these integrated resources under one roof, it helps its clients get new products to market faster and make protecting their existing brands easier.