Focus Groups for Product Development

(Webinar length:  1 hr 22min)


Focus groups are a form of qualitative consumer research in which a group of people (usually 6-12) are asked about their perceptions, opinions, beliefs, and attitudes towards a product, service, concept, advertisement, idea, or packaging. Numerous industries utilize focus groups but there are many factors to consider when planning and conducting groups specifically to support food and beverage product development (PD). Focus groups can provide insight throughout the PD lifecycle but success lies in proper planning, execution, and interpretation of the results.
While traditionally a qualitative technique, quantitative techniques (e.g. voting, scaling, and ranking) can be successfully incorporated into PD focus groups. Depending on the objective (e.g. front end innovation or PD guidance for formulation ‘tweaks’) a different balance of qualitative and quantitative is appropriate. It is the improper usage of qualitative and quantitative techniques that often results in erroneous or unclear results.

This presentation will cover the ‘nuts & bolts’ for planning effective PD focus groups. Topics will include: best practices for paneling food and beverage products, how to tailor group structure for a variety of PD objectives, discussion guide creation, back room etiquette and active listening tips, selecting the venue and moderator, proper screening of target consumers, and results interpretation.

What you will learn:

  • How to utilize focus groups for a variety of PD objectives
  • Tips for developing a discussion guide to answer your most pressing research questions
  • Best practices for the preparation and serving of food and beverage samples
  • How to balance qualitative and quantitative techniques within a focus group setting
  • Advice on selecting the best venue, moderator, and participants
  • Suggestions for back room management and engaged listening
  • Common pitfalls to avoid when conducting PD focus groups
  • Tips and tricks utilized by the top players in the food industry, including testimonials on successes and challenges

Who should attend?

  • Product developers
  • Consumer Insights professionals
  • Food and consumer products marketing managers
  • Sensory evaluation specialists
  • Marketing research professionals
  • Nutritionists, dietitians and menu planners
  • Culinary professionals
  • Research scientists in foods, consumer products and OTC

Presenter--Annette Hottenstein:

Annette Hottenstein is President of Sensational Sustenance, LLC, a consulting company specializing in sensory evaluation and nutrition. Prior to forming her company, Annette worked for 15 years as sensory and consumer scientist for Pepsico and McCormick & Company. A sought-after speaker and writer, she has presented on multiple occasions at the Pangborn Sensory Science Symposium and to the Society of Sensory Professionals and has authored numerous articles. Since 1999, she has moderated over 150 focus groups. She has a Master of Science in Food Science from Texas A&M University, a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition from The Pennsylvania State University and is a Registered Dietitian, Licensed in the State of Maryland.

  • Item #: 1203eFocus
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Price $289.00