Carrefour using feedback from consumer Test Panel comprised of 15,000 households in Europe to help redesign packaging, ensure product quality; consumers evaluate factors such as packaging text legibility, ease of opening, taste and ease of use

LEVALLOIS-PERRET, France , September 1, 2011 (press release) – Carrefour is redesigning and enhancing its methods of testing its own-brand products by giving consumers a central role in its quality approach. By the end of 2012, nearly 5,000 products from the Carrefour range will have been evaluated by the Carrefour Test Panel, which is made up of 15,000 households in Europe.

Products inspired, tested and approved by consumers!

A pioneer in 1976 with its unbranded goods, then again in 1985 with the launch of Carrefour products, the banner is now innovating once again, this time with its quality approach by adopting a participatory testing process, the Carrefour Test Panel.

This is the first time that a retailer in France has offered consumers the chance to test, evaluate and influence its product range. With this panel, Carrefour is reinventing its quality approach by giving consumers a central role in the development of its branded products.

The Test Panel is composed of 15,000 families in Europe who test and evaluate Carrefour brand products in their homes. Each family receives a basket of 10 products to test, along with a questionnaire. The families are asked to test all of the products in the basket in the course of their normal daily activities and to evaluate them according to several criteria ranging from legibility of the packaging text and ease of opening the package to the product’s taste and ease of use. After receiving the consumer questionnaires, Carrefour analyzes the results for each product, then redesigns and improves products or packaging that did not receive high scores.

Beginning in September 2011, 400 products (food, personal care and cleaning products) that have undergone this testing procedure will appear in the stores. They will be easy to spot thanks to their new packaging and the logo reading “Inspired, tested and approved by the Carrefour Test Panel.”

By the end of 2012, 5,000 products in the Carrefour range will have been tested and retested by the Carrefour Test Panel.

An enhanced quality approach

Carrefour has always made quality one of its key priorities in the development of its own-brand products.

To guarantee its customers top quality, Carrefour has set up a detailed quality approach based on a number of steps including developing strict specifications and inspecting the quality processes of its partner suppliers. For this, the banner turned to its Quality Department with its staff of 150, as well as many external testing firms. Each supplier is audited annually (for a total of 5,000 site inspections per year in Europe) to verify health and safety conditions, risk control, application of the HACCP plan to ensure food safety, traceability of ingredients and compliance with specifications. Carrefour-brand food products also undergo blind testing by external partners to evaluate their sensory qualities. The cleaning products, personal-care products and perfumes are tested for effectiveness or performance, for example with hypoallergenic testing.

These new participatory testing methods round out and enhance the banner’s existing quality strategy.

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