After you have come up with what you think is the best new food product concept, it is valuable to gather consumer data to confirm the brilliance of your idea and provide feedback to hone in your new product concept. Check out this chapter to learn how to write your own consumer concept test.
Numerous sensory tests are used in the development of new food products. These include Consumer Concept Tests, Attribute Tests (JAR Tests), Simple Difference Tests, and Home-Use Tests (HUT). Consumer Concept Tests gather information on consumer attitudes, likes and dislikes, trends, and consumer reactions to your proposed new product idea. Essentially, it is a way to find out if consumers like your new product concept plus get feedback on concept details.
- Survey consumers to gain information to justify your new product idea.
- Gain additional information on product type (for example, fresh vs frozen), flavor and texture profiles, package size, overall product acceptability, and any other product attributes.
- Justifies potential product interest before a large investment in development
- Pinpoints specific product attributes of interest
- Cost-effective to screen numerous product ideas and concepts to eliminate outliers
- Will allow for preliminary data on potential marketing and advertising strategies
- Very new and innovative ideas may be difficult to explain without a product prototype.
- May lose (some) confidentially of company long-term objectives
- Consumers may not be completely honest with their responses.
- General consumers may not be your target market.
- It is difficult to pinpoint an exact number of consumers surveyed for a typical Concept Test. As a general course guideline, 100 consumers within your target market would be acceptable.
- You may include demographic questions within your survey. Common questions include age, gender, and frequency of product usage. However, a “prefer not to reply” option should be included with every demographic question.
- Course standards do not allow for participants under the age of 18.
- Surveys must contain company information, contact information, and instructions for survey return.
- Open-ended questions are allowed, but hard to analyze.
- Product attribute questions regarding color, flavor, or texture are encouraged. For example, when asking about a fruit flavor, it may be better to provide a list of flavors and ask consumers to rank instead of an open-ended question about what flavor they prefer.
- Questions concerning product type (e.g. fresh/frozen/vending machine/foodservice), package size (e.g. single-serve/family size/bulk pack), and product placement in a retail grocery store can be included.
- This is your chance to ask for feedback on anything you want to know about your product idea.
- After being approved by faculty, consumer concept tests are typically formatted in Google Forms or SurveyMonkey and are distributed through social media and/or emails.