Packaging design - a strategic approach to enhance consumers' sensory perceptions and overall enjoyment of healthy food and drinks

Project team: Sarah Thomas
Member funded project
Running: January 2015 – December 2017
Steering MIG: Sensory and consumer
Project number: 134929
Proposal documentation

There is a growing demand from both government and consumers for food and drink products that support a healthy lifestyle. Trends for 'healthier' products are focusing on reformulation initiatives (e.g. low or reduced fat, salt, and sugar), promoting 'naturally healthy' products, and health and nutrition claims. This project will assist the healthy food and drink product development process, but from a different perspective. It will focus on packaging designs and will investigate how packaging design can be effectively utilised to communicate product health benefits and enhance consumers' healthy food experience and enjoyment.

Our previous research revealed associations between packaging design elements (e.g. colour, graphics, shape) and expected product sensory characteristics (taste, flavour), and demonstrated the impact of packaging designs on consumers' liking and perceptions of product attributes. In this project, we will explore consumers' associations between a number of design elements, e.g. colour, shape, images, and their perceived 'healthiness'. Outcomes from this research will provide general guidance on various packaging design elements and the likelihood of consumers perceiving them as being healthy.

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