Food Innovation Research Lab | Gordon S. Lang School of Business and Economics

Food Innovation Research Lab

The Food Retail Lab uses cutting-edge technology to research consumer decision-making

Launched in May 2017, the Longo’s Food Retail Lab and the Schneider’s Research Lab are home to food retail research that enhances our understanding of consumer decision-making, consumption and reactions to food advertising. These labs were made possible through generous gifts from Longo Brothers Fruit Market Inc. and Schneider Foods.

Longo’s Food Retail Lab

Resembling an actual grocery store with fully stocked shelves and check-out counter, the Longo’s Food Retail Lab utilizes eye-tracking equipment and cameras to gauge buyer behaviour patterns as consumers shop. Researchers will explore a number of areas including how consumers value and learn about different foods, and their decision making when purchasing and consuming foods.

The Food Retail Lab uses eye-tracking equipment to examine consumer behaviour
A research participant wears eye-tracking
glasses as he chooses grocery items in
the Longo's Food Retail Lab.
A researcher watches what the participant
sees using a tablet that streams real-time
footage from the glasses.
The Longo's Food Retail Lab was designed to resemble an actual Longo's grocery store.

Research priorities

The Longo’s Food Retail Lab focuses on four key research priorities.

  1. Price processing.  Which prices consumers evaluate when making a product decision, specifically if they consider brands, package sizes, “regular” prices and per unit prices.
  2. Effect of labelling on product choice.  If consumers show preference towards certain product labels, such as GMO free products and the possible effects of certain GMO label characteristics.
  3. Customer processing of packaging information. What information consumers use, how much they read and if it differs by product.
  4. Impact of nutrition labelling. Do consumers look at nutritional labelling on restaurant menus or products on shelves, and if so, does it influence consumer choice.

The Schneider’s Research Lab

The Schneider’s Research Lab is equipped with computer monitors that allow researchers to gauge participant reactions to advertising, complete surveys and other analyses. The Lab can also facilitate research in PJs Restaurant to explore customer behaviours, eating patterns, menu design and many other important foodservice topics.

Research objectives that could be investigated by these lab spaces include:

  • How consumers value different foods
  • How consumers learn about different foods
  • Consumer decision-making processes for purchasing and consuming foods


If you would like more information on these research facilities, please contact professor Simon Somogyi, Arrell Chair in the Business of Food in the Gordon S. Lang School of Business and Economics.