Food Product Development: The Best Way to Test Market a New Food Product

There are a lot of logistics that go into in-person research like focus groups, intercept surveys, and interviews. Oftentimes, consumer packaged goods (CPG) organizations forget about ways food product research can be conducted remotely. 

In fact, our market research company can argue that remote or in-home research can provide CPG companies with more realistic, and insightful data from their test markers. 

Of course, every project and company is different. There are pros and cons of doing research remotely versus in-person, but a market research firm will be able to develop a methodology that best fits your needs and budget.

food product development: the best way to test market new food products

There are a variety of market research methodologies available to consumer packaged goods organizations looking to test market a new food product - but there is one that will provide the most realistic results with reliable and insightful data...

What is the Best Way to Test Market A New Food Product?

In-home usage tests (IHUTs) are a great way to collect feedback from a target audience in their natural environment. 

Rather than conducting taste tests in a focus group facility, participants are able to use the food product in their home - just as if they picked up a new item from the grocery store. 

Participants in your test markets are able to eat or drink the food product for several weeks, providing fresh and reliable feedback along the way. 

Learn more about a recent IHUT project completed for a new food product to gain a better understanding of how the process works with a market research company.

IHUT Project Overview

Recently, our team completed an IHUT project for a new food product with households across the United States. Participants were recruited, qualified, and asked to confirm their interest in participating. 

Once participants passed each of these requirements, they were shipped samples of the product and were required to:

  1. Download an app
  2. Register an account
  3. Use the product
  4. Regularly provide feedback

The in-home usage test took 4 weeks to complete. During this time period usage of the food product was monitored, participants were routinely engaged, and various messages were sent. 

Feedback from participants was collected before the product arrived, when the product arrived (first-reaction), during usage, and after the test was completed.

How are IHUT Participants Recruited?

Recruiting for IHUTs requires a well-thought-out process. Drive Research follows an exclusive in-house approach our team has built for testing new food projects. 

Our method uses a step-by-step and task-oriented approach to project management from kickoff through the completion of the IHUT project.

Step One

The IHUT recruitment process began by programming an online survey to pre-screen the audience through email invitations.

The process to recruit IHUT participants for the food product tests started with emails to a randomized sample of those who fall into the targeted demographic using a national email list. 

Step Two

Those who qualified received a re-screening confirmation call to ask additional questions and verify the core qualification criteria (i.e., shipping address, details about how to fully participate in the project).

Step Three

The recruitment for the food product IHUTs separated participants into two groups: 

  1. Those who have never used the product before but have brought products made by the brand previously
  2. Those who have used the product before

A total of 75 participants in each group participated in the IHUT (150 in total).

Targeting Criteria Included:

  • Primary grocery shoppers
  • Those aged 25 to 49 years of age
  • A mix of genders (at least 30% male)
  • Must have purchased products made by the brand before
  • A mix of preferred grocery stores 
  • Must reside in the U.S.
  • Must have completed at least some college
  • Must be employed or a student
  • Must have a total annual household income of at least $50,000

Step Four

The client placed a one-page instruction sheet in the shipment to explain the app download and registration process. 

This instruction page included a step-by-step breakdown of testing the food product such as:

  • What the expectations are
  • How to download the app, register the account, and fill out the feedback surveys
  • What the engagement will entail

Step Five

Following shipment, our team assisted with engagement and reminder phone calls, emails, and texts to ensure the highest potential participation in the IHUT.

What was the incentive for participating in the IHUT? 

In addition to keeping the product, participants were offered a $75 incentive for fully participating in the 4-week test. 

This ultimately helps the project achieve a high participation rate. The gift cards were sent promptly after completion of the 4-week test. 

Learn more about why incentives are important to increase participation in research!

Contact Drive Research

Drive Research is a national market research company located in Upstate NY. We work with clients and industries across the country to assist with their in-home usage test (IHUT) studies.

Interested in receiving a proposal for IHUTs? Contact us 1 of the following 4 ways:

Message us on our website
Email us at [email protected] (we'll respond quickly)
Call us at 888-725-DATA
Text us at 315-303-2040

In-Home Usage Tests Market Research Case Studies