Campden and Chorleywood Food Research Association (CCFRA) is stepping up the service it offers manufacturers in the new product development (NPD) process with the creation of a new qualitative research studio and consumer test kitchen at its Chipping Campden headquarters.
The new centre, which has three separate rooms, including a kitchen and a client observation room complete with audio and video links, will offer cost-effective solutions for research and the testing of new food and drink concepts, says CCFRA, and will boost manufacturers' chances of successfully launching a new product.
Peter Burgess, consumer and markets insight manager at CCFRA, says that that centre enables manufacturers to monitor their consumer trials in a non-invasive way. "A large TV monitor enables clients to view consumers in the test kitchen or being interviewed without influencing the process," he says.
The centre will be primarily used for qualitative research for testing concepts with consumers at the early stages of development.
The extension was required as many more manufacturers are starting to see the benefits of using consumer trials throughout their NPD, says Burgess. "The market for consumer research in the food and drink sector has recorded well above average growth, according to the British Market Research Association," he says. "Consumers are being used in NPD more and more."
However, he believes that more companies need to do testing of this sort in order to raise the chances of NPD success. "While a lot of companies use research, they don't do enough of it in the NPD process," he says. "Companies need to involve consumers more frequently."
One reason is that companies feel they need to carry out this type of research on a large scale for it to be most effective, says Burgess. But this is not necessarily the case. "Small-scale projects can deliver around 90% of the information you need."
As part of the improvements, CCFRA has also invited up to 2,000 members to join its consumer test panel. Around 1,000 consumers will be aligned to the centre in Gloucestershire and a further 1,000 will be based at a new centre currently being built by CCFRA in the north of England.