Focus groups consist of 6-12 consumers (depending on the subject) who represent a product, service or concept’s target market. They may be used either at the beginning stage of product development (in the Fuzzy Front End) to gain insight about a product, service or concept or after product development to understand consumer opinion about a prototype1. Led by a moderator (Focus Group Moderating), focus groups may provide direction to product developers or marketers, and illustrate trends. Often, consumers are asked to use the product in their everyday lives and record their thoughts, feelings and opinions pertaining to the product. The consumers may return to the focus group with firsthand knowledge of the product’s packaging, shelf life, preparation, cooking, usage, flavor and texture characteristics. With direct insight from the consumers, product developers/marketers are able to better optimize the product for the consumers.
These sessions are usually observed and recorded.
1 Meilgaard, M. C., Civille, G. V. and Carr, B. T. 2007. Sensory Evaluation Techniques, 4th edition. CRC Press, Boca Raton, Florida.