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On-pack communication From April 2010 newsletter

Consumer expectations from
on-pack communication

Recent member subscription–funded research has demonstrated the importance of ensuring that marketing type information on food and drink labels does not falsely raise consumer expectations as to the nature of the product. A series of consumer focus groups looked at general aspects such as packaging design, sensory descriptions such as coffee and wine characteristics, and symbols such as chillies to denote the heat of curries. In the absence of product visibility, a picture of the product was essential. However, it was pointed out that these sometimes bore little resemblance to the finished product.

A key finding was the extent to which these messages influence the consumer´s expectation of the subsequent eating experience – and how it was important that this expectation was met. A product that was significantly different to that expected was likely to be rated lower than an identical product that delivered the expected characteristics.

Specific products were discussed by the groups in relation to different messages. Short meaningful sentences with concise wording were preferred for descriptions of sensory attributes. These findings will help companies to improve packaging design for attracting consumer attention.

This research is just one example of our expertise in consumer research. For a free electronic copy of the full report, send an e-mail to with the subject line: send RD292

Contact: Sarah Thomas
+44(0)1386 842254