Assessing information on food packages

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to present an experimental study which aims at assessing the potentially misleading effect of graphic elements on food packaging. The authors call these elements potentially misleading elements (PMEs) as they can give customers false expectations. They are either highlighted numerical information (30 per cent fibre, 8 per cent fat, 100 per cent natural […]) or pictorial information with no relation to the product (e.g. images of happy people).
Design/methodology/approach

In a combined decision task monitored by eye-tracking and a subsequence survey, the authors tested the impact of PMEs on common products. Combining different pairs of products, where one product had a PME, whereas the other did not, the authors could evaluate if preference correlated with the presence of a PME.
Findings

The authors found both types of PMEs to have analogous effects on participants’ preferences and correlate with participants’ visual attention. The authors also found evidence for a positive influence on a later explicit justification for the specific choice.
Research limitations/implications

This study was conducted in a lab environment and solely related to health-related decisions. The authors still need to know if these findings are transferable to real in-store decisions and other needs such as high quality or low price. This calls for further research.
Practical implications

The topic is important for food companies, and it might become a priority in managing brand equity, combining consumer preferences, loyalty and communicative fairness.
Originality/value

Using eye-tracking and retrospective interviews brings new insights to consumer’s decision-making and how misleading potentially occurs.

Details

Authors
Organisations
External organisations
  • Copenhagen Business School
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • General Language Studies and Linguistics
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)219 - 237
JournalEuropean Journal of Marketing
Volume51
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes