University of Twente Student Theses


In the eye of the consumer : the influence of package shape and package color on perceived product healthfulness.

Ruumpol, J.G. (2014) In the eye of the consumer : the influence of package shape and package color on perceived product healthfulness.

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Abstract:In order to maintain health, people’s food choices and eating behavior are very important. Changing diet is one of the key methods advocated to improve health (Barreiro-Hurle, Gracia & De Magistris, 2010). However communicating healthfulness of food through labelling is not working optimally, therefore research is needed to examine other methods to communicate health in an easy way (Van Kreijl & Knaap, 2004). This study investigated to what extent product packaging, in particular package color and package shape, contributes to the healthfulness of a product. The study examined both a healthy and less healthy product: yoghurt (healthy) and biscuits (unhealthy), therefore the study consisted of a 2 (‘healthy’ color vs. ‘less healthy’ color) * 2 (‘healthy’ shape vs. ‘less healthy’ shape) * 2 (‘healthy’ product vs. ‘less healthy’ product). Study 1 was conducted to determine which colors and which shapes are perceived as healthy and less healthy, for both products. An online survey was distributed to 20 respondents, which had to rate 12 colors and 8 shapes on their association with healthiness, for both products. These colors and shapes were used in Study 2, to manipulate the product packages of yoghurt and biscuits. Data was collected using an online survey, in this survey respondents were asked to judge one of the manipulated versions of the healthy food product and one of the manipulated versions of the unhealthy food product. The online survey measured the Perceived Healthfulness, Credibility, Product Attitude, Intention to Buy, Price Expectation and respondents’ General Health Interest. Results show that only package color contributed to the healthfulness of a product, this also only holds true for the healthy product. However both package color and package shape did affect the overall product evaluation, but only in the case of the healthy product yoghurt. Whereas a ‘healthy’ manipulation of package color and package shape results in a positive product evaluation, in comparison with ‘unhealthy’ manipulations of the package color and package shape. Manipulations of product package concerning the unhealthy food product did not lead to similar results. These results are interesting for marketers, concerning the fact that packages can be used to communicate healthfulness, however they need to keep in mind that this probably only works for products that are already perceived as healthy.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:05 communication studies
Programme:Communication Studies MSc (60713)
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