You are free to share this article under the Attribution 4.0 International license. Virtual reality can help optimize consumer tests to make them more useful for both researchers and food companies, a new study suggests.

“Our research shows that virtual reality is interesting for product development in the food industry and that the food industry should take these tools very seriously in the future. They offer great potential for seeing how certain products fit into simulated contexts that feel real to the testers,” says Wender Bredie, who leads the Future Consumer Lab at the University of Copenhagen.

“If you want to develop food products for a new market, you can use virtual reality to see whether the target audience likes the product and how enthusiastic they are about it,” explains Bredie. Imagine sitting in a booth in a neutral room and choosing between two cold drinks.

This is how a typical consumer test takes place and, while your choice will show what you prefer at that moment, in that setting, researchers know that this kind of test doesn’ttell the whole story. Your surroundings also play a role in how you feel and what you choose, but it can be both expensive and difficult to travel around the world with test subjects and equipment because a company or research team wants to test a product in different contexts.

The current study, which appears in the journal Food Research International, also confirms that researchers and food companies could use virtual reality to create desire for drinks. “It is completely new research for our field. Read more from…

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