Where shall I sit?
Context and Central Location Testing
There is a lot of interest in context at present. Everyone knows that the experience and enjoyment of food is affected by the environment, and the role of context in product experience is being extensively researched.
Of course, many consumer tests continue to be conducted in central location tests (CLTs). At Sensory Dimensions we pride ourselves on having our own highly controlled testing suites for the conduct of these tests.
Each of our testing suites has 24 seats. The location of some of these seats in the former Reading facility was less desirable than others: a little bit tucked away from the main room making it more difficult to hear the pre-study briefing; perhaps a feeling of isolation; higher counter tops with stools rather than more comfortable chairs. If context is apparently so important in product testing, would these differences be impacting the data we were collecting?
We looked at results from a test of three samples of chocolate truffles: all on the market and all delicious! Our hypothesis was that the respondents who sat in the ‘cheap seats’ would score lower than those in ‘first class’.
Not at all: scores were exactly the same for all questions and modalities tested, as was the discrimination between the samples. The study conclusions were stable irrespective of where respondents sat in the test room.
The question remains as to whether you would get the same result if consumers were at home watching TV. However, our finding underlines the stability of CLT data and can give us all even greater confidence in its conclusions and insight.
By the way in our Nottingham and new Reading facility all seats are ‘first class’.
Video and photos are on their way!