What's your experience with claims testing?

EclecticEclectic Member
edited August 2015 in General
Hi all,

I'd like to gather opinions on submitting formulations to an independent lab for claims testing. If I proceed with this the results would be used for marketing purposes and for adding credibility to the finished product.

What is the average cost?
Do you see it as a valuable investment?
Is it a worthy investment as a marketing tool?
How do you tell a good lab from a mediocre one?

Thank you, all responses are appreciated.

Comments

  • BobzchemistBobzchemist Member, PCF student
    What is the average cost? It depends greatly on the claims that are being tested for, and on how large you want the test to be, and where it is conducted. It's so variable that an average cost for "claims testing" won't tell you anything.

    Do you see it as a valuable investment? It can be, if your claims are valid and substantiated.

    Is it a worthy investment as a marketing tool? Depends on the claims. Are you making something unique, or just another "me too" product? Also, if you try to make claims without testing - what's it worth to you not to be the subject of a class-action lawsuit for fraudulent claims?

    How do you tell a good lab from a mediocre one? Reputation - but how do you define "good"?

    Robert Zonis, Sr. Formulation Chemist, Beaumont Products "All opinions and comments expressed are my own, have no relation to Beaumont Products, are fully copyrighted, and may not be used without written permission."
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    Great questions and I agree with what @Bobzchemist has said above.

    I would add that before you pay for any testing you should come up with a list of claims that you want to have substantiated.  These should be claims that your customers will find compelling.  That will give your testing house some goal to shoot for. They may or may not be able to do it but you need to give them as much direction as possible.

    If they were really good they would help you come up with claims about your product but that may be asking a bit much.

    Claims will support the story that can set your product apart from all the other technologies. It is well worth doing the testing but you need claims that you know are compelling to your consumers.
  • Thank you both for the replies.

    I have a definite list of specific claims that I have formulated the product to perform, and Bob pertaining to your questions, it's a part "me-too" product with at least 1 or 2 unique twists.

    I guess a good lab for me is one that is known to have a good reputation in the hair care category. Because I've never submitted a product for claims testing (only safety and stability) I don't know what would constitute a good lab vs a not so good one for claims. Any suggestions?

    I'm also wondering if cost goes up per claim, for example, would I be able to get a discounted price for having several claims tested at once? Or is it more common to have each feature tested separately as an individual order?

    Once again, thank you for your responses.
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    Probably the best company from a technology standpoint is TRI Institute
  • Thanks Perry!
  • BobzchemistBobzchemist Member, PCF student
    @Eclectic - there are absolutely no labs that have any kind of reputation at all with consumers. 

    As far as the cosmetic/haircare industry is concerned, a "good" lab will run a test in a timely manner, provide an adequately detailed and scientifically valid report, and will not charge exorbitantly.

    The thing you most have to decide is, like Perry says, what will be compelling to your customers?

    You can spend a bunch of money on detailed tests that come back and say " with a 90% confidence range, our tests show that hair treated with MiracleGoo(tm) shows a 30% reduction in combing force and a 20% increase in gloss."

    Or, you can spend much less money, and have a test lab hand out a sample of your product to 20 testers, have them use it for a week, and get a report back that says "All of our testers thought MiracleGoo(tm) made their hair smoother, shinier, and easier to manage. 80% of them really liked it and said it was great, and 20% said it was moderately great. 65% said it was better than what they use now and 30% said it was just as good. 5% said it was worse."

    Which test results will let you make claims that will get your customers/consumers to buy or buy more of your product? Either one will legally substantiate a variety of claims.
    Robert Zonis, Sr. Formulation Chemist, Beaumont Products "All opinions and comments expressed are my own, have no relation to Beaumont Products, are fully copyrighted, and may not be used without written permission."
  • Thank you Bob for your detailed reply.

    So I have already distributed the product to a small test group and have some feedback that could be used for marketing purposes. The most cost effective choice would be to just use this data, but because it's not "independent" I think consumers will be rightfully skeptical of anything that is claimed.

    I suppose my next question then is, in your (or anyone else who replies) experience, do consumers really value independent lab results?

    For my own information, it will be valuable for me to see on a lab analysis level how closely I've hit the mark on accomplishing my formulating goals, but right now just gaining that information just to have it is cost prohibitive. If there is real value in indie lab results, I'm willing to compromise to save on cost and just gather the anecdotal test results or just use the self-gathered data I already have on hand, and save the more involved tests for when budget is available.

  • Thanks again for these replies, they really are helpful.
Sign In or Register to comment.