Have you ever walked into a supermarket and wondered why a particular brand is on the top shelf or why its packaging is pink rather than blue or green?
It is not simply coincidence that makes you grab for the pink packaged paracetamol box, it is all down to science and a lot of in depth research, meaning your bathroom cabinet says a lot more about you than you thought.
Before your favourite toothpaste makes its home by your sink, it will have gone through a rigorous testing process to ensure the product and packaging suit the needs of the consumer, even its positioning on the pharmacy shelf has been carefully examined.
And its all done on our doorstep!
British pharmaceutical company, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has launched a new Consumer Sensory Lab alongside their existing Shopper Science Lab, at their offices in Brentford , in a bid to better understand consumer preferences and behaviours throughout the product development process from creation to shop shelf and ending up in your bathroom cabinet.
According to GSK, the location of the two labs in one facility is believed to be the "first of its kind in Europe".
Sally Loughlin, senior director for consumer and sensory innovation, at GSK Consumer Healthcare, said: “We are delighted to launch our Consumer Sensory Lab which will help us understand the needs of consumers both in the UK and Europe more widely in a way that simply wasn’t possible before when using household products.
"An immense amount of product testing goes on behind the scenes here each day and the Consumer Sensory Lab, working in tandem with our Shopper Science Lab, allows us to understand the needs of consumers all the way from the lab bench to first use.
"This is the first time both facilities have operated on the same site and we believe they will provide substantial consumer insight – both for existing and developing products – which will allow us to refine the items we offer for many years to come."
Whilst professionally trained panelist are recruited to take park in the rigorous testing of the products in the Consumer Sensory Lab, consumers from the local community are invited into the Shopper Science Lab where various technologies are used from eye tracking glasses to skin response systems and virtual spaces with touch enabled screens.
From this, scientists can determine how important things like price and promotion are when consumers walk into a shop by assessing their conscious and subconscious reactions.
Speaking to getwestlondon Sally Loughlin said there are benefits to the diverse community in the local area: "Having a really good population in west London really allows us to draw from that population that community to do great research and with the different ethnicities that are here, it really allows us to build some of that understanding as well."
The Sensory Lab on the other hand houses trained panelists who use their sensory perception to test taste, smell, texture and other properties of healthcare products, making decisions on whether a product spells like peppermint or spearmint or whether it tastes bitter or sweet.
And at the end of the day, it is all in the interest of the consumer, when talking about how they benefit, Sally Loughlin said: "They will be able to find products that are right for them, what we are trying to to is make it easy for them to find the product they want on the shelf."
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