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At HRA Global, we pride ourselves on going above and beyond expectations to provide true insight.

With backgrounds in grocery retail, food manufacture, and consulting, nobody else has a grasp on food and drink that is as strong and as unique as ours.

We have a strong reputation for neutrality and objectivity with retailers, manufacturers and government agencies, offering a range of both qualitative and quantitative techniques to help understand trade channel and consumer.

Whether it’s market testing a new flavour, understanding consumer behaviour, looking for consumer input into new packaging, or re-segmenting a category, we deliver actionable insights.

Agriculture, Charities/Voluntary, Drinks (Alcoholic), Drinks (Non-alcoholic), FMCG – General, Food, Nutrition, Retail, Toiletries/Beauty Products
Consultancy, Depth Interviews, Desk Research, Hall Tests, Market reviews and analysis, Mobile Web Surveys, Online Surveys, Qualitative, Quantitative, Questionnaire Design
Brand/Branding, Business-to-Business, Consumer, New Product Development, Online Panels, Packaging/Design, Pricing, Product Testing, Trendspotting, Usage & Attitude
Affluent, Digital Consumers, Hard-to-Reach, High Net Worth, Mature/Midlife, Men, Mothers/Parents, Senior Citizens, Women, Youth/Teens
Senior Contacts

Hamish Renton (Managing Director)
Kim Shaddick (Senior Consultant)

Breakdown of Personnel

Admin/Support staff: 1
Executive/Research staff: 3
Field interviewers: 3
Field managers/supervisors: 1
Telephone interviewers: 2
Total Number of Employees: 6 to 10

TASTE TESTS FOR THE NEW GENERATION

Off of the back of ‘Is food for sharing anymore?’ we decided to create a list of the most obvious ways that technology and taste tests can be married. Taste tests are entirely about individuals consuming independently, the ultimate representation of eating food alone. 

A new project pulls into port – a taste test. We begin booking the venue, then arrange samples with the client, design questionnaires, and pull together all other necessary materials.

On the big day, we hop on our train, arrive, and set up in the room, watching our participants channel in through the reception and jumping into action to help out when needed – be that fetching another sample or technological issues.

It was a long but successful day, due, in part, to how we adapted the efficiencies of technology to the modern taste test. I cannot stress enough how important it is to adapt, especially in fields like market research with established methodologies that would undoubtedly age without modernising.

Below is a list of a few ways in which tech can revolutionise taste tests for both researcher and client.

For Researchers:

In addition to paper questionnaires, participants can complete online surveys on tablets to improve the speed the survey is completed. There is a plethora of studies in Educational Psychology concerning the detrimental effects of speed and interpretation of handwriting versus typing. Not only this, but the speed that results are available is extraordinary, and there is a lot of software out there that can visualise the data for you to analyse away.

Self-sign-in via tablet (or another device). This is a personal favourite. You will experience at least one wave of participants, as groups of friends arrive together, and certain timeslots are more popular than others. Swift registration can be hampered by an influx of participants but easily tackled by device(s) and as a researcher, you only need to monitor participants, so you do not feel inundated and overwhelmed.

Remote payment via Paypal is convenient and reassuring for participants, yourself, and your finance manager, post-GDPR.

Changing the entire structure of the research method, postal taste tests can be completed entirely online, with efficient preparation and packaging your key to success. Your sample size can then be both larger and cover a much larger breadth of the nation in a quick, convenient manner. There are obvious obstacles for some products, e.g. size and weight of the product that can be dealt with fairly easily, but for some products such as hot food the variables are too many and the classic taste test remains the better option.

If you’re a client interested about investing in taste tests for your product, it is more than worth considering how you might want to accommodate technology, if you’re there on the day or not. Senses are collaborative, and while the tasting is blind, the consumer is aware of their surroundings, other participants, and a lot of other variables that contribute to their overall taste experience. 

For Clients:

Taste tests are, after all, an experiment, so if we treat the venue as our lab, we want to control as much as we can. Dotting audio-visual materials around the venue can speak to more senses to control aspects of the experience. Give your researchers as many materials and ideas as possible. Instead of listening to the humdrum of other people typing and smacking their lips, the air could be filled with positive reactions from the previous taste tests via a video on loop. Food, as we know, is all about sharing, experiences, leveraged appeal. Consumers will pick up a product based on the colours and font, and while these aspects should be tested separately, in reality, there is no way that a taste test can deal with all extraneous variables, so incorporating your desired feel of the brand allows the test to collaborate aspects of consumer research you ultimately need the answers for.

Ask for your researchers to share software links with you if they can. It allows you to keep track of the day’s progress as it happens, potentially envisioning improvements to the next round of taste tests and keeping you in the loop.

 

Further Exploration:

·       The Sense and Nonsense of Consumer Product Testing: How to Identify Whether Consumers Are Blindly Loyal? Raghubir, Tyebjee, Lin, 2009.

·       SmartSurvey.co.uk / Google Forms & add-ons

 

 

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“HRA Global have worked with Noluma in B2C and B2B research and business development since early 2018.  The qualitative and quantitative research conducted was extensive, coordinated timely, and was presented well with graphics and videos.  Findings served us effectively in validating our concept and driving the best business model forward, put to the test in our business outreach run to date.” Noluma International 

 

“We worked with HRA on Market Research projects in the Food Fraud area. We were impressed with their contacts and knowledge within the Food and Drink industry. They were professional, completed the research in a timely manner and to a high standard and were enjoyable partners to work with.” University of Portsmouth

 

“HRA helped to build the Kingdom Cheddar brand with proposition development, brand design, qualitative and quantitative market research and packaging design for the US market. They successfully provided advertising, website creation, social media activation and in store marketing material for US consumers, retailers and wholesalers. They are effective and considered with a friendly, professional responsive work ethic.” Omsco

 

“HRA delivered successful Market Research projects which evaluated consumer options for one of our existing Children’s brands. The research was well constructed, using sound methodology and fieldwork and the conclusions were presented clearly and actionable. They worked quickly but professionally and were always accessible and collaborative.” Britvic

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