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Product testing with consumers in mind


HCD Research, Flemington, USA


Somewhere along the streamed-lined process of product development, the voice of the consumer has been lost. Here we discuss how the consumer perspective is not only helpful, but necessary for product development research along the entire product development journey: ideation to development to validation. Several consumer perspective methodological approaches are discussed for ensuring the voice of the consumer is heard.

It’s a long journey from product concept to product on shelf. A journey that consumers are not typically aware of. But as we all know, there is a significant amount of work behind the scenes.

Brand teams make decisions about what sort of products and directions to take. R&D teams spend a lot of time creating and choosing the right ingredients. Marketing teams try to find the right messaging.

But where is the consumer voice in the process?

Product testing does often involves using external (from the company) participants to test anything from ingredients (for example flavor testing) to usage (for example pack testing). There is also clinical testing for product effectiveness and safety. There are consumer tests such as home-use tests (where consumers take the products home to try out and report on) and central location tests (where consumers come to a location to try products and answer questions).

For these types of tests, participants most often answer product surveys, participate in focus groups, or answer interview questions. For trained panel testing, participants give detailed numerical responses regarding product attributes (such as sw ...

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