GSK Consumer Healthcare has opened a new Consumer Sensory Lab to better understand the daily needs of consumers.
The Lab, located at the firm’s UK headquarters in Brentford, aims to understand consumers’ sensory preferences, working alongside the existing Shopper Science Lab to understand consumer preferences and behaviours throughout the product development process, all the way to the bathroom cabinet.
The Consumer Sensory Lab will test a broad range of products, using state of the art eye-tracking devices, facial and skin biometric monitoring systems and recording devices.
Two dedicated 12-person consumer panels, whittled down from more than 400 applicants and selected for their elite sensory perception, have undergone up to six months of training to ensure they can provide detailed feedback on the taste, texture, smell, and other properties of everyday healthcare products such as toothpaste and cough syrup.
Products will be tested by the panel during eight weekly sessions, meaning that consumer preferences will be incorporated throughout the product development process.
GSK has a similar facility in New Jersey, USA, where the Consumer Sensory Lab has led to changes across a range of product lines. This dedicated capability of consumer and sensory understanding has led to new breakthrough innovations.
For example, research identified that consumers experience burning sensation when they have heartburn and desire a cooling effect to soothe this. The Sensory and Product development teams worked together to take this insight and develop cooling technologies that could be used in an antacid. The findings fed directly into ENO Cooling Powder, available in both Latin America and Asia, which now delivers on strong sensory-based claims like “fast/ instant cooling.”