Putting the consumer at the heart of product development is the focus of a new Consumer Sensory and Testing Suite which has been launched to the Northern Ireland food industry by the Ulster Business School’s Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management.
Located on the Coleraine campus, the suite of facilities includes sensory testing booths for consumer panelling, a seminar room for exploring consumer perceptions, benchmarking products and concept development and a test kitchen for developing new product concepts.
Professor Grainne Allen, Ulster Business School Visiting academic explains, “Food manufacturers in Northern Ireland have a great reputation for supplying high quality products to the major retailers but they don’t always have access to affordable consumer testing facilities.
“It is increasingly important, especially for smaller food companies, that they identify and analyse the quality levers that effect shoppers and consumers choice before investing in expensive technology and product trials. This new Consumer Sensory and Testing Suite will provide access to a test kitchen, development chefs and the testing facilities which are so vital for growth but often prohibitively expensive.”
The facilities are also used by students on the BSc Hons Consumer Studies degree to complete live industry projects