Visual elements of packaging shaping healthiness evaluations of consumers: The case of olive oil

Carla Cavallo*, Betina Piqueras-Fiszman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


Visual elements of food products can play an important role in determining food choice through shaping the attributes perception of consumers. Symbols and logos have the role of conveying information, but they can be interpreted in different ways. The product used as a case study is Extra-Virgin Olive Oil. The elements tested are: color of the bottle, sensory quality claims, organic production logos, country of origin (COO), and cold processing. An online questionnaire was completed by a sample of Dutch and Italian consumers in order to have cross-national results. Consumers' healthiness perception toward packaging alternatives with combinations of these elements were related to consumer traits through a contingent ranking method. Healthiness perception was enhanced by elements on the label such as: organic production, COO and by traits of the consumers such as familiarity and sustainability concern; while it was lowered by sensory indications of pungent properties. Somewhat unexpectedly, the color of container was the only element differently interpreted by the two nationalities. Practical applications: Most of the packaging elements were perceived similarly by the Dutch and Italian consumers, this suggests that there is no need to create different labels for products sold in different countries. The exception relies in the indication to use dark bottles for products sold in Italy and transparent for products sold in The Netherlands. Pungent features, even if tied with superior healthy properties, are preferred by a small share of consumers. Label and packaging can be used to better communicate the healthiness of the products, so indicating the origin and the organic production can be useful for companies, regardless of the country in which they operate. A positive trend of preference toward olive oil in emerging consuming countries, as The Netherlands, is expected, as the use of this product is spreading within the population as healthy concerns about diet is becoming increasingly important.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12246
JournalJournal of Sensory Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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