It’s all about context in consumer testing

Mixed-Reality for consumer testing is now available at Massey

Massey University now has cutting-edge consumer science facilities at the Feast Lab. With Igloo, our new mixed reality (MR) technology, we can project 360-degree videos and pictures onto the walls of our lab.

This allows us to simulate almost-real eating/drinking situations. Consumers can, for example, sit on a couch or at a dinner table in the lab whilst the walls show the inside of a home. And yet, we maintain a scientifically-controlled environment.

Feast Lab’s Immersive Room using Igloo VR

360-degree image of a home

With this technology, we will collect data on how people feel when eating future foods in a setting closer to real-life.

Traditional booths may not truly show how a product is accepted 

Traditionally, consumer testing is done in controlled settings like sensory booths or conference rooms. However, consumer testing in these conditions does not reflect the real context that someone would typically eat or drink in. Consequently, findings may not truly tell us how a product will be accepted in real-life.

Traditional Sensory Booth

Researchers can mimic real-life in the lab

Evaluating foods in real contexts (like a restaurant or at home) can be expensive and poses many logistical challenges.

Sensory and consumer researchers are therefore trialling a number of strategies to set up more realistic consumption scenarios in a laboratory. These strategies include virtual reality or MR like Igloo or the HoloLens. Here are some other strategies:  

HoloLens mixed-reality headset

Rebekah Orr, 24 June 2021

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