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Can Product Labeling Alter Taste?

Food and beverage packaging are scrutinized and marketing tactics are fully employed long before the products hit the shelves.

It is not a secret that product packaging can impact sales decisions, but can it make a difference in the way your cup of coffee tastes? According to a study investigating the subject, it may actually be a possibility.

Published in PLOS ONE, results from the article titled Who Needs Cream and Sugar When There Is Eco-Labeling? Taste and Willingness to Pay for “Eco-Friendly” Coffee showed some interesting consumer behavior. The study looked into whether or not coffee that was labeled as “ecofriendly” was a purchasing factor.

Researchers performed different investigations to examine participant tendencies for coffee purchases. The experiments were looking at taste preference as well as whether or not consumers would pay more for a product that was advertised as ecofriendly.

For the testing, a group of participants sampled 2 cups of coffee and were told that only 1 of the brands were ecofriendly, although both cups contained the exact same brand.

The findings showed that brands labeled as ecofriendly can actually heighten the taster’s perception of the product, making it more appealing.

Can Product Labeling Alter Taste?

Image source: plosone.org

People are also willing to pay more for a green product, even if it is not really green, simply based on the wording and labeling.

Can Product Labeling Alter Taste?

Image source: plosone.org

Further, researchers concluded that participants choosing the brand with the ecofriendly label did not really seem to do so because of a larger social reason.

This study shows how greenwashing can be put into action, and is an interesting look into how consumers’ decisions are affected by marketing and packaging.

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