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On cheese and taste tests... (for BUS 345 researchers)

Published by Mark Bodnar

Our BUS 345 students are going to be doing some taste tests again this semester, and this time the focus is on cheese!

If you're in that class1, see below for some initial thoughts on resources to help you understand the cheese market and consumers, especially in Canada.  Also be sure to check out my earlier blog post -- On taste tests and primary research (redux)  -- for a list of resources and search strategies that may help you as you design your taste test methodologies and evaluate the results.

1. Passport

A quick search for cheese Canada should get you to reports such as: 

  • Cheese in Canada (category briefing)
  • Food Intolerance in Canada
  • Dairy Packaging in Canada

This approach will also give you Market Size, Company Share, Brand Share, Distribution, and other statistical tables. Be sure to use the options to the left of each table to adjust the time period and other settings to fit your needs.

An alternative (and possibly more effective) search strategy: try the "Browse Tree" link and go to Categories and Topics > Packaged Food > Dairy > Cheese, then add Canada on the Geographies tab.   

2. Vividata (the database formerly known as "PMB Reports")

Vividata is in a state of flux at the moment as the current interface will disappear soon, and the new interface is still under development.

  • Until Jan. 31, 2017: (extended to Feb. 20!)" Vividata Educational Resources will provide you with the demographics of the Canadian consumers of cheeses by frequency, form, type, kind, brand, and even use (snacks, sandwiches, cooking, etc.). See How to Read a Vividata Crosstab Report or ask in the library if you have trouble understanding these complex, yet powerful, reports.
  • After Jan. 31, 2017: (Available now, but with less data on specific cheese types): Vividata Target Snapshot will be our new interface. It is available already, but doesn't currently offer the full data or functionality that we expect it to have later this term.

3. Canadian Dairy Information Centre

4. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

5. Dairy Processors of Canada

6. Cheese Lovers' Society of Canada

  • Lore (links to sites that might help you better understand the news and terms of the cheese world)

7. Statista (our newest database) can provide a shortcut to relevant statistics buried in articles and reports throughout the web (including some sources that aren't freely available).  

  • Start with this rough search for cheese, and be sure to follow the links to original sources under the Release tab to the left of each of the charts.

8. As I mentioned in my earlier post about taste tests, it's important to search both PsycInfo and Business Source Complete for research articles about your topic as the two databases cover different, though overlapping, groups of journals.

In PsycInfo, start with this rough search to find articles such as...

In Business Source Complete, start with this rough search to find such articles as the following. (Note: I've left that search broad, but you might want to limit it to scholarly journals.)

9. Bonus section! I just came across this brand new ebook: A handbook for sensory and consumer-driven new product development : innovative technologies for the food and beverage industry

  • Check out Chapter 12 (in section III): "Sensory Properties of Dairy Products" to learn about the chemical processes that cause different cheeses to taste the way they do. Might be a good way to learn some of the type-specific terms?

I hope that's enough to get you started! If you need more, stop by the library to chat with my colleagues.

Good luck with your taste tests, 

-- MarkB
Mark Bodnar
Business & Economics Librarian

1 Of course, even if you aren't in BUS 345, you may find it interesting to use the cheese topic as a way to learn more about some of our more niche marketing databases. Dive in and explore!

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