Love chocolates? Of course, you do. Well, who doesn't love it?! But while buying a chocolate from a store, do you judge it by its cover (read: packaging)? Think! Your answer may or may not be certain, but if the findings of a recent study are to be believed, people do judge chocolate by its packaging. What is more, people do express a strong emotional association with the packaging of a chocolate than they do from the tasting. Intriguing, right? As per the researchers of the study, while the taste is always considered as the principal factor in determining the purchases, perception of taste is influenced by emotions induced by packaging.
"There's a difference in how consumers perceive intrinsic product cues -- like flavor, aroma, and texture -- which are associated with sensory and perceptual systems, and how they perceive external cues -- like packaging materials, information, brand name, and price -- which are associated with cognitive and psychological mechanisms," explained co-lead investigator Frank R. Dunshea, PhD, School of Agriculture and Food, VIC, Australia.
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"The information provided via packaging can influence customers' expectations and affect their emotional response when their sensory experience confirms or doesn't confirm their initial impression," continued Dunshea in the study published in the journal, Heliyon.
Researchers analysed 75 participants, who were between 25 and 55 years of age, wherein 59 percent of the participants were female. The participants were asked to rate chocolates under three conditions: a blind taste test of chocolate; packaging concepts only; and chocolate plus packaging. The same chocolate was packed in six different wrappers, representing bold, fun, every day, special, healthy, and premium concepts. Later, the participants were asked to associate the samples with a term that describes their exact emotion.
It was observed that the liking of the taste of the chocolates was affected by the different wrapper designs, especially when expectations did not match with the packaging. Participants chose a stronger emotional word to describe the packaging than what they did during blind tasting session of the chocolate.
The researchers found that there was a moderate positive association between liking the packaging and the taste of the chocolate and had a direct influence on the acceptability of the chocolate.
"An estimated 60 per cent of consumers' initial decisions about products are made in stores solely by judging the packaging, as a result," explained co-lead investigator Sigfredo Fuentes, PhD, also of the School of Agriculture and Food, Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences, The University of Melbourne, VIC, Australia.