Research lab at U of G will study how people buy and consume food
Published Wednesday, May 3, 2017 9:49PM EDT
How people buy their groceries is now the subject of scientific research.
A lab at the University of Guelph is going high-tech to figure out how consumers shop for food.
“This lab is about understanding how people make decisions about food,” said Mike von Massow, research director of the university’s food innovation lab.
Researchers will use glasses that can track the eye movements of shoppers.
The equipment will track reactions to things like nutrition labels, advertising, and store flyers.
The effects of price, brand and health benefits on people's choices will also be recorded.
Genetically modified food is one of the first areas of interest.
When given the choice between foods that contain GMO’s and foods that don’t, the lab aims to track which type consumers prefer.
“We don't know if it will influence decisions so we're going to look at the impact of having a label on the front or on the back of a package,” von Massow said.
The lab is being funded, in part, from a $500,000 donation from Longo’s.
The company is currently building a new store in Guelph's south end.
“I think there's so much more we can offer as far as research that can be done to help make the shopping experience better for customers,” said Anthony Longo, President and CEO of Longo’s.
Even though funding for the project comes from private companies, researchers say the lab's findings will be in the public domain.
With reporting by Max Wark