How do food shoppers make their choices…that’s the question being studied at the University of Guelph.
A special type of lab to study the question has been created, in fact, it’s unique..possibly in the world.Listen
What the university has done is to create an actual small lab/grocery store with the help of a local grocery store chain (Longo’s), a lab/restaurant, and a computerized research facility to record and monitor data collected from the labs.
What they are studying are the various influences that people act upon in making food choice decisions, whether that be colours, placement on shelves, cost, ingredients etc.
In one aspect of the research for example, they will study whether people are affected by whether a product has genetically modified components versus, those that are GMO free. For that matter, to what extent are people paying attention to labels, and ingredients.
Using a variety of technology they will track consumers behaviour in the store to learn how they make decisions as to what they choose to buy. Among many other techniques and technologies, this includes for example cameras and high tech glasses that track eye movement to see what attracts buyers, how long they dwell on something and to what extent they examine labels, prices, volume/weight etc.
The research is with a view towards helping consumers make healthier choices.
The neighbouring Schneider’s Research Lab, which is equipped with touch screen monitors, allows researchers to gauge participant reactions to advertising.
This unique facility opens “for business” this week, and as professor von Massow says, even though they haven’t really been “advertising” this, word has spread among research communities and they’re already getting inquiries about potential research projects.