The eleven weeks I have spent at FIC all led up to this week. It was the week when I would run my very own project. It was a two-day test, with each session lasting for an hour. Since it was a granola test, we offered an option to the panelists to test the samples with or without granola. Little preparation was needed in terms of the samples, besides for scooping the granola and yogurt into small glass bowls. The trickiest part in the preparing samples would be trying to maintain the amount of add-ins in each sample as identical as possible.
The panelists were served with 6 different granola samples, one sample at a time. They would answer a series of sensory attribute related questions first for each sample, then proceed with the second part of the test which was mainly focused on the packaging. The panelists were given a paper ballot and concept cards. The concept cards had some informations related to each sample, including the ingredients list, image of packaging, and price. The panelists were to use this information in answering the questions on the paper ballot. Next, the panelists were also handed three packaging samples (one for each tested brand), and asked to answer a purchase intent question solely based on the packaging seal/closure system and their reusability.
Despite an issue with the ballot during the first round, the rest of the test days went very smoothly. We achieved the targeted number of panelists and our client seemed satisfied with our work.
During the rest of the week, we spent our time working on the recruiting for a focus group as well as a research project for the fish industry. Recruiting for a focus group is different than the process for regular taste test. After we had a list of potential panelists that we had from the screener results, we had to call and interview them by phone. This step is important because we have to make sure our participant is talkative and/or comfortable enough in expressing their opinions and joining a discussion.