Regular readers of this blog will know of my history complaining about Tesco, taking the giant to court and meeting the new CEO etc. See here for The Complaining Cow’s history with Tesco.
When I met some of the team in late November 2014 I met Helen Wilson who was the Head of Quality Evaluation at Tesco. I asked her to write me a guest post on how Tesco test products and how you could join in.
But four years later things have moved on! So here’s an updated post by Natalie Arpino the Tesco Product Insights Manager:
Putting the finest* products on your plate (and around your house!)
At Tesco, we provide our customers with great quality, affordable products. To do this, we put our products through a series of different tests, looking at everything from taste, to how easy it is to prepare and how convenient the packaging is.
In May 2018, we opened our new state of the art product development and testing centre, based in the heart of our Welwyn Garden City campus. Here, we test thousands of products a year through listening to customer feedback both during and after the development process.
Our testing process includes four key platforms: Product Assessment Centres, the Tesco Home panel listening sessions and expert tasters.
We have a large customer base, spanning the whole of the UK, so our testing isn’t limited to sessions on our campus. We also have Product Assessment Centres dotted in the North and the South of the country, which allow us to invite more customers to take part in our product testing process. Anyone can take part in these tests as long as they meet the criteria set for the product we are testing on the day.
One of our most popular testing platforms is the Tesco Home panel, which is made up of a large group of online testers working from the comfort of their homes. We invite these customers to trial products they regularly buy from our range of Household, Petcare, Clothing and Health & Beauty products. Due to the popularity of this role, we’re not currently accepting new applicants, but we plan to open this up again in the future. (I am on this but don’t appear to get anything! Had a coat a couple of years ago and some washing tablets, nothing since!)
On our Welwyn campus, we conduct listening sessions in the focus group room. These sessions allow us to understand how customers feel about newly developed products, which are created by our team of innovation chefs.
Next door, in the flexible sensory room, we run tasting sessions every day with 24 different expert tasters. Our team of expert tasters have a passion for product and are dedicated to ensuring that the products we serve are the very best quality for our customers. Tasters are chosen following a series of activities, designed to assess each of their senses, and complete 2 months of training before they start product testing.
We use these four platforms to collect feedback from as many customers as possible. Our product developers and suppliers will then use this feedback to either change existing products or create new innovative products to best fit our customers’ needs.
For more details on some of our favourite food products, take a look at our Real Food website