Good! The box with the products we were expecting has arrived and we are ready to start the test, exactly as anticipated by OpinionCity.
The boxes sometimes contain products you can easily recognize because they arrive in their selling package, so you can see the brand, but sometimes you cannot because the products have been de-branded – the brand is hidden, covered by a label – before being sent, so that you can test and evaluate them without being influenced by their brand.
Samples are orderly placed in the box; in some cases, an ID is stuck on the package for you to identify the products and then fill in the relevant questionnaire; in other cases, this is not necessary because products are easy to recognize. The product size and weight are sometimes the original ones, whereas sometimes products are dosed, weighed and re-packed in smaller bags, bottles, or packages. This is something Clients decide beforehand.
Insomma le variabili su come preparare, impacchettare, stivare, confezionare i prodotti alimentari e non, sono numerose, ma una volta definite si passa all’acquisto e alla preparazione degli stessi.
Anche la fase dell’acquisto segue degli schemi predefiniti; occorre approvvigionarsi di prodotti il più possibile simili tra loro e cioè che abbiano le stesse caratteristiche come ad esempio lo stabilimento di produzione e la data di scadenza. E’ facile immaginare quindi che la spesa richieda delle intere settimane di tempo anche per i quantitativi che sono ovviamente ingenti.
Poi occorrono spazi, grandi spazi, dove stoccare tutta questa merce, dove possa essere conservata e confezionata. A volte è necessario che questi spazi siamo provvisti di frigoriferi, di scaffali, di spazi adatti alla preparazione delle scatole. OpinionCity dopo un’attenta ricerca, ne ha individuati diversi in varie regioni d’Italia e la collaborazione con loro sta dando ottimi risultati.
We can definitely say that there are infinite variables on how to prepare, pack, store food and non-food products, and once they have all been defined, products can be purchased and prepared to be tested.
The sourcing step also follows a specific scheme: you need to purchase products that are as similar as possible to each other, namely having the same characteristics, such as manufacturing plant and expiry date. It goes without saying that this process takes weeks to complete, also because of the huge amounts of samples to be purchased.
You also need spaces, large spaces to stock, store and prepare all this stuff; sometimes fridges are necessary, or shelves, or even special equipment to prepare the boxes. After a careful search, OpinionCity has identified several venues in different Italian regions, and this cooperation has proven to be fruitful so far.
The project researchers define the scheme to be followed for the box preparation, i.e. they establish who tastes what according to a specific rotation design, and the staff who prepare the boxes must follow the plan strictly. A deviation from this design could affect the research results.
Products also need proper packaging in order to prevent them from breaking: product replacement, if necessary, would slow down the project.
It is often necessary to add a paper questionnaire – this does not replace the online questionnaire, though, it is rather a little help for respondents –, and this is also an extremely delicate operation.
The boxes are finally labelled and shipped all over the country by couriers. Within a couple of days, the products will be at the OpinionCity citizens’ houses, ready to be opened for an experience of pure and simple pleasure.