Getting to the bottom of product development
The Sensory Dimensions Difference
Our comprehensive and detailed study design allowed our client to better understand their product, and move forward with product development.
A toilet roll manufacturer was investigating new design options to increase strength and absorbency. Our client needed to understand how the new options performed against their existing product and whether they stacked up against the competition.
We knew the importance of getting a clear picture of the way each design option could impact the sensory and usage characteristics of the rolls, so that findings could feed directly into further paper and process development. Our strategy also allowed us to monitor and understand the impact of these variables.
What We Did
We evaluated the prototype rolls against the existing product and a range of competitors using descriptive sensory profiling. Trained sensory panellists came up with a comprehensive language defining all the appearance, handling, skinfeel and performance attributes of the toilet rolls.
Attributes included: ease of tearing of sheets, absorbency when folded, softness when scrunched, bulk, ease of flushing, cleansing, and amount of dust. Whilst much of the work was done at our facilities, to define and subsequently rate the in-use characteristics, assessors were asked to use the products at home and to come together for full and frank discussions!
What We Found
Mapping the samples revealed that some of the design options offered clear points of difference from competitors and existing products but that certain attributes - particularly those related to tearing of sheets from the roll, were compromised.
One of the prototypes was selected for further development, which focussed on improving performance of the product in key areas. By re-submitting the development samples to the trained panel, our client could measure progress towards their target product profile.