A new study from the UK has found that biscuits seem tastier when they come in fancy packaging.
UK consumer group Which? asked two groups of tasters to sample and rate chocolate-chip biscuits from the premium, standard and budget range at supermarket chains Asda, Sainsbury’s and Tesco.
Researchers gave one group cookies in their original packaging while the other group tasted the biscuits blind before being asked to rate the taste and quality of each kind of cookie.
The biscuits that were given with their packaging scored significantly higher overall, and were perceived to taste better than their wrapper-less counterparts.
Eating with our eyes
The experiment clearly showed that our perception of how food should taste is influenced by the way food is packed and the glossy, flawless images adoring wrappers.
According to a panel of experts who were asked to analyse the design of some popular UK supermarket brand ranges, it’s all part of a carefully considered strategy.
The packaging design of some budget ranges seemed like they were designed to put customers off looking obviously ‘cheap’, which could tempt consumers into upgrading to a more premium –and pricier – alternative.
However, with many household budgets stretched thin, supermarkets are putting more effort into making their home brand lines look more alluring.
Here in Australia we’ve seen this happen with the design of many supermarket lines sharing an eerie similarity to their name-brand counterparts.
Unsurprisingly, this has only served to further anger manufacturers who already feel that they are being squeezed out of premium shelf space as supermarkets aggressively promote their own lines as a comparable, yet more economical, alternative.