5.2: Home Use Tests (HUT)
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Home Use Tests (HUT) are the last sensory evaluation done before your product will be launched in the grocery store. It is important to check the liking of attributes and the overall product, along with the willingness to purchase and the price consumers would be willing to pay.
Numerous sensory tests are used in the development of new food products. These include Consumer Concept Tests, Attribute Tests (JAR Tests), Simple Difference Tests, and Home-Use Tests (HUT). Home-Use Tests provide valuable information on product performance in a natural environment before marketing and launch.
- Gather real-time consumer data related to product sensory quality.
- Gain additional information on product packaging, serving size, package instructions, product cost, frequency of purchase, and reaction to product claims (gluten-free, vegan, nutrient content claims, etc.).
- Allows for product usage under true consumer conditions when compared with CLT’s (Central Location Tests – in the lab, mall, grocery store, etc.)
- Allows for multiple responses if more than one household member
- May allow for sampling of high-fatigue products over time (coffee, spicy foods, etc.)
- Allows for the opportunity to test a product in different market segments across the country
- Limited or no control over how the product will be used by the consumer
- Traditional low questionnaire return rates… may be as low as 25%
- Loss of confidentially
- An ideal Home-Use Test may include 100 consumers in three diverse markets across the country (for a national product introduction).
- Because of budget and product amount restrictions, faculty recommends 15 to 20 completed Home-Use Tests.
- Products do not have to be in final packaging for distribution – plastic bags work well.
- Surveys must contain company information, contact information for survey return, allergens, and the ingredient statement.
- Demographic information and product usage may be collected as long as a “prefer not to answer” option is included.
- This is your chance to ask for feedback on anything you want to know about your product.
- Attribute questions MUST be on 9-point hedonic scales – you MUST include an overall opinion or overall acceptability question – The course standard is to score an average of 7.0 or better on the 9.0 hedonic scale for all attributes, especially for overall acceptability.
Questionnaires must be approved by faculty before distribution. Your product must average a 7 out of 9 or better in overall acceptability.