University of Twente Student Theses


Communicating health through package color and material : the influence of color and material of food packaging on perceived product healthfulness

Lith, Rianne van (2015) Communicating health through package color and material : the influence of color and material of food packaging on perceived product healthfulness.

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Abstract:People are getting more conscious about their health. Numerous studies confirm how destructive a bad diet is for the human body. The awareness is growing and therefore an increasing number of consumers are looking for healthy products. The design of a food package can have a huge effect on the consumers perception of a product. Factors like material and color play an important role. By just looking at the design of a package, people form expectations and draw conclusions out of past experiences. Consumers make their food choices mainly based on the packages’ appearance. However, few studies describe which associations people have with a product’s healthiness, communicated by its colors and materials. This study investigates to what extent the color and material of food packaging influence the consumer’s perception of a product’s healthfulness. The study has a 2 (unhealthy material vs healthy material) by 2 (unhealthy color vs healthy color) between subjects design and was executed for two different products. One healthy (knäckebröd) and one unhealthy (chocolate) product. Material and color were manipulated. Healthiness, naturalness, attractiveness, expected tastiness, perceived tastiness, credibility and intention to buy were measured. Finally, general health interest was added as a covariate. Before starting the main study, two preliminary studies were conducted in order to find out which materials and which colors had to be used for the main study. The main study itself was performed in several medium sized supermarkets in the Netherlands. All participants filled out a questionnaire in written while observing the food packages and sampling the products. The results of the study show that both package material and package color can have a significant influence on the perceived healthfulness of the containing product. In addition to previous research, this study shows that package design can actually affect people’s attitude towards food products. Package material turns out to be of influence on the perception of chocolate. It is perceived healthier from the package of healthy material (cardboard paper) than from the package of unhealthy material (plastic). For knäckebröd package color does turn out to be of influence. It is perceived healthier from the healthy colored package (brown) than from the unhealthy colored package (yellow). In addition, consumers with a high general health interest rate chocolate as less tasty compared to consumers with a low general health interest. Few studies investigate the influence of package color and material on perceived healthiness of food products. The study at hand can help food producers and marketers to anticipate on today’s growing interest in healthy foods by communicating health through food packages by using the right colors and materials.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:05 communication studies
Programme:Communication Studies MSc (60713)
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