Harrisburg University of Science and Technology and The Hershey Co. are joining forces to develop a sensory science and consumer research program at the school's campus located in downtown Harrisburg, Pa. The initiative includes creating a research laboratory where the university will conduct consumer taste tests on a range of confectionery products, including Hershey's chocolate. Consumer insights obtained from the lab's research will guide product development efforts.
"We are creating a unique research program where students will learn applied science and technology that has meaningful, real-world applications," said Dr. Eric Darr, executive vice president and provost, Harrisburg University in a prepared statement. "We want to thank Hershey for their support. This research will not only benefit the innovation work of one of the world's best-known companies, it will give students the opportunity to gain practical experience that will prepare them for science and technology jobs."
The Hershey Co. will give the university a grant of $90,000 to equip a new sensory science and consumer research laboratory and cover other start-up costs during the program's first two years. The university plans to complete the lab in February.
The sensory science and consumer research program is aligned with the university's mission to create innovative and ambitious programs that meet the educational needs of youth as well as create economic opportunities in the region. Harrisburg University staff and students will conduct the consumer research working closely with Hershey research staff.
The program's research results will be integrated with sensory testing conducted at The Hershey Co.'s Technical Center in Hershey, Pa., where professional sensory panels and employee panels provide feedback that guides ongoing new product development. "Having broad consumer input improves our ability to innovate as we develop the best-tasting and most appealing chocolate and sugar confectionery products on the market," said Dan Azzara, senior vice president, global research and development at The Hershey Co. "This will be an exciting partnership that will keep us closely connected with consumers and influence future Hershey products as we develop innovative new forms to meet the needs of consumers. We're proud to continue our support of the Harrisburg University of Science and Technology."
For additional information about sensory science research activities at Harrisburg University, contact Dr. Rene D. Massengale at 717-901-5133 or RMassengale@HarrisburgU.edu.