New publication: Let There be Light! An Initial Exploratory Study of Whether Lighting Influences Consumer Evaluations of Packaged Food Products2014-09-01
Journal of Sensory Studies, Volume 29, Issue 4, pages 294–300, August 2014
Tobias Otterbring, Martin Löfgren and Magnus Lestelius
This study investigates how lighting influences consumer evaluations of packaged food products. Fifty-eight participants evaluated two identical packaged meals (alternated between subjects) in a laboratory setting. The products were stored in a freezer with cold light (blue light-emitting diode [LED]) on one side and warm light (yellow LED) on the other side. A three-way mixed multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) revealed that, independent of package color and gender, food products were evaluated more negatively in the cold light than in the warm light in terms of quality, attractiveness and inferred taste. Therefore, lighting may influence consumers' overall evaluations of packaged meals. This finding also highlights the managerial problem whereby the lighting standards that exist at print agencies in order to eliminate ambiguities when making decisions about package design are rare for in-store lighting. Consequently, products that look attractive at the print agency may look unappealing in a store. The results are discussed in terms of processing fluency and cross-modal correspondences.
The results of this study are fruitful for sensory scientists interested in how cold versus warm lighting influences the perceived taste, attractiveness and quality of packaged food products. The findings also shed light on the managerial problem caused by packaged products potentially being evaluated in different lights at print agencies (when choosing package colors and design) and in the store. These findings should be relevant for retailers, print agencies and brand owners of packaged products. Given that the lighting in most retail stores is cold, and the present study indicates that cold light has negative effects on overall packaging evaluations, these findings warrant further consideration.