Products such as toothpastes and cough syrups will be tested prior to market in a new Consumer Sensory Lab, launched in west London by GSK Consumer Healthcare. The new facility uses state of the art eye-tracking devices, facial and skin biometric monitoring systems to observe people’s assessment of a product’s properties, such as taste, smell and texture.

Two 12-person consumer panels, recruited from 400 applicants and selected specifically for their high levels of sensory perception, have undergone up to six months of training to ensure they can provide consistent and detailed feedback on the properties of everyday healthcare products in the Lab, says the company. Testers sit in enclosed booths to give detailed feedback on products before discussing their findings as a group, to ensure that product’s characteristics meet consumers’ needs.

GSK's Consumer Sensory Lab

The new facility operates alongside GSK Consumer Healthcare’s Shopper Science Lab situated on the same site, which invites in members of the public to study shopper behaviour and consumer preferences, including when browsing a trial pharmacy store.   

Sally Loughlin, senior director, 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.”

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