June 15, 2012
A few weeks after the FedDev announcement, Vineland Research and Innovation Centre announced more high-tech research to help the industry.

Eye tracking technology is proving its usefulness for consumer research.  Dr. Isabelle Lesschaeve, research director for consumer insights and product innovation and Dr. Ben Campbell, horticultural economist, are applying eye tracking technology to products such as ornamental plants, flowers, wine, fruit and vegetables.

The two researchers agree that the technology allows them to see exactly what consumers are looking at during their shopping experience. “This information provides valuable insight for growers and retailers into how to develop successful marketing and pricing strategies,” said Dr. Lesschaeve.

The first eye tracking program at Vineland is part of a larger ornamental and vegetable plant study that will collect data from consumers at six locations across North America. Collaboration between Vineland, Purdue University, Michigan State University, Texas A&M University, University of Minnesota and University of Florida will provide information on consumer attitudes, behaviours and demographic characteristics.

For this study, Vineland is specifically concerned with labelling and the display of ornamental and vegetable plants. Information will be gained on where best to put information on a display or label to better attract the consumer’s attention. The study will also determine if consumers in Ontario vs. the U.S. are using different visual cues to purchase an ornamental or vegetable plant.