Taste matters most: Effects of package design on the dynamics of implicit and explicit product evaluations over repeated in-home consumption

Irene O.J.M. Tijssen, Elizabeth H. Zandstra, Annick den Boer, Gerry Jager*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Package design influences consumers’ expectations of a product's sensory properties and expected healthiness and/or tastiness, and potentially also changes actual product perception during consumption. The robustness of these effects is far from clear, however. This study investigated the influence of package cues signalling either hedonic or healthy product properties on expectations and subsequent product evaluation over repeated consumption. In a between-subjects design, 92 participants evaluated product expectations and taste perceptions of a chocolate-sesame flavoured biscuit with a package emphasizing either its healthy (n = 44) or hedonic (n = 48) aspects, both at a central location (CLT) and during six home use tests (HUT), using both explicit (questionnaires) and implicit (IAT) measures. Package design significantly affected (p < 0.05) consumers’ expectations of the product. They expected the biscuit to be tastier, less attractive and less healthy in the hedonic package condition, and less tasty, more attractive and healthier in the healthy package condition. However, these effects did not transfer to actual product evaluations upon tasting, either blind or tasting in combination with viewing the package during the HUTs. Implicit attitudes did change as a result of repeated exposures, depending on the package consumers were provided with, indicating product-package interactions over time (p < 0.05). In conclusion, package design influences product expectations and associations with its healthiness and attractiveness, which is of relevance in product choice and purchase settings. However, at the stage of (repeated) consumption, intrinsic (sensory) properties become the dominant drivers of products’ sensory and hedonic evaluations, and the impact of package cues seems less potent.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)126-135
Number of pages10
JournalFood Quality and Preference
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2019


  • Attractiveness
  • Healthiness
  • Implicit associations
  • Package design
  • Repeated exposure
  • Sensory evaluation


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