Thursday, November 24, 2016

Lighten Up When Health Outweighs Taste

With food products, the color of packaging influences the opinion of what’s contained inside. Packages you carry on your shelves which include green in the label are more likely to be perceived as fresh. Show consumers from throughout the world green product packaging and you'll probably hear descriptions like new, organic, healthy, and refreshing. And pale package colors stimulate perceptions of lower calories with fewer additives, thereby also leading to consumer perceptions of healthfulness.
     But researchers at Kiel University and University of Dresden caution about going beyond the pale. Along with indicating a healthy choice, the lighter colors on a package can lead to expectations of weak flavor. This is more likely to happen when the shopper puts more importance on the taste of the food than on eating healthy.
     It’s also more likely when the shopper has not eaten that particular item before. Once they’ve tried it, the pale color of the package continues to imply healthfulness while the expectations of taste are influenced principally by the shopper’s past experiences having actually sampled the food.
     The tip for retailers: With food items where the appeal is to health, favor alternatives with light packaging colors. If such items don’t come to you from the supplier with light package colors, use pastels for your ads and store signage about the items.
     The shape of the package also plays into the perceptions. When purchasing a product associated with extra calories, there are shoppers who habitually prefer packages having an hourglass shape to those that are short and squat.
     And transparent versus opaque packing makes a difference. Researchers at Ohio State University and University of Texas-Austin found that for foods in large packages, opaque packaging with an illustration of the item resulted in higher sales. For foods with interesting colors or shapes sold in small packages, the likelihood of purchase and amount consumed increased with transparent packaging. However, an exception to this was with any vegetables which consumers thought of more for health benefits than for tastiness. Here, opaque packaging resulted in higher sales than did transparent packaging.
     A tradeoff between perceptions of healthiness and of tastiness is commonly seen with consumer research. In a set of University of Chicago studies, people assigned to eat a “healthy” food rated themselves as hungrier afterwards than did people assigned to eat a “tasty” food, yet all the samples were actually the same food item.

For your profitability: Sell Well: What Really Moves Your Shoppers

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