To sniff or not to sniff?

Date of publication: March 16, 2003

Abstract:

This paper is intended primarily as a discussion-opener and as such takes a fresh look at the fragrance industry's use of sniff testing as a means of evaluating fragrances among consumers, examines the place of this methodology within product testing in general, and, with reference to some examples, raises a number of basic questions and points for discussion. The paper also looks at the general environment in which consumer product testing takes place. The authors suggest that there is a continuing role for sniff testing as a tool for evaluating fragrances, but that it should be used in certain circumstances only, since, used alone, it can be misleading. Market researchers in the fragrance industry in general are well aware of the pros and cons of sniff testing, and should be free to use this methodology as and when they consider it appropriate.

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