Packaging: the undercover emotion grabber

A recent study shows that design in chocolate packaging enhances a consumer’s emotional attachment to a product before and after purchase.


The research, published by Elsevier in the science journal Heliyon, shows how product appearance determines emotional response and likelihood of purchase.


According to Valentine’s Day stats published by SheerID in 2015, 58 million pounds of chocolate will be sold during the week leading up to Valentine’s Day. Chocolate packaged in heart-shaped boxes generates 36 million purchases.


Appearances can be deceiving

SAIT student Casey Dyck said she once purchased a certain brand of cereal based on the packaging.


“The packaging was so good, I was so sold on it. And then I got it home, and it tasted so bad,” said Dyck.


The results from the study show how first impressions based on packaging are an important factor in a person’s decision to purchase. However, sometimes those expectations are not met.


“I expect the way it’s described to reflect the way it tastes,” said Jean Paterson, a SAIT Graphic Communications and Print Technology instructor.


She said that individuals are influenced by the visual impact things have on the brain.


“I think we’re a pretty gullible group,” said Paterson.


“That packaging is delivering your whole message, really,” said Leslie Pidcock, an instructor in SAIT’s School of Business.


Pidcock said the packaging is important because it’s representing the brand.


“That’s what your customer’s seeing, and that’s what they’re making their decision based on.”


Dyck said the worst wrapping is the kind where you look at it and cannot understand what’s inside.


She said she has associated certain chocolate brands with certain kinds of chocolate. She has evaluated the potential flavour based on the packaging.


“If packaging has humour in it, I get actually really sold on that,” said Dyck.


Dyck also said she is a big fan of simple packaging.


Finding a balance

Paterson said while she does not think that appearance is more important than the taste of the product, she thinks it may be as important.


The study on packaging was conducted in Australia with the use of one chocolate placed in several different packages. Enjoyment of the chocolate’s taste varied significantly based on the different wrapping.

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