The Packworld.com website features an article by Maria Macaraque, Associate Health and Wellness, Euromonitor International on the relationship between perceived taste and package design. It discusses various research and experiments on how consumer’s perceptions of taste are affected by the colour and weight of the packaging. This research is especially relevant to snack food producers where the food is eaten directly from the package. From this research, the package appearance seems to have a direct impact on the taste perceptions.
The article cites a very interesting example of Coke can (normally red) that was changed to white for a fundraising campaign.
“Experiments have repeatedly shown that red, the usual colour of a can of Coke, is associated with sweetness, and this could explain Coke’s failed white can. It was designed as part of a fundraising effort for endangered polar bears but it was discontinued when people complained that Coke didn’t taste as good in it, which was just a perception, as the content was exactly the same as the regular product.”
The article reports on other experiments, including an experiment by the University of Oxford that showed that consumers reported that a bowl of popcorn tasted sweeter when served in a red bowl than a bowl of identical popcorn served in a white bowl.
The implication of these findings are that food manufacturers would be well advised to research the relationship between colour and taste perceptions before approving a package design