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Journal cover: European Journal of Marketing

European Journal of Marketing

ISSN: 0309-0566

Online from: 1967

Subject Area: Marketing

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Sensory description labels for food affect consumer product choice

Document Information:
Title:Sensory description labels for food affect consumer product choice
Author(s):Johan Swahn, (School of Hospitality, Culinary Arts, and Meal Science, Örebro University, Grythyttan, Sweden), Lena Mossberg, (Marketing Group, Department of Business Administration, School of Business Economics and Law, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden), Åsa Öström, (School of Hospitality, Culinary Arts, and Meal Science, Örebro University, Grythyttan, Sweden), Inga-Britt Gustafsson, (School of Hospitality, Culinary Arts, and Meal Science, Örebro University, Grythyttan, Sweden)
Citation:Johan Swahn, Lena Mossberg, Åsa Öström, Inga-Britt Gustafsson, (2012) "Sensory description labels for food affect consumer product choice", European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 46 Iss: 11/12, pp.1628 - 1646
Keywords:Consumer behaviour, Decision making, Food, Grocery retail store, Labelling, Marketing strategy, Preference, Sensory description
Article type:Research paper
DOI:10.1108/03090561211260013 (Permanent URL)
Publisher:Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Purpose – This observational study set out to investigate the effect of sensory description labels on consumer choice of apples in a grocery retail store.

Design/methodology/approach – An independent observation study was conducted in a retail grocery store setting. A total of 1,623 consumers were observed over a four-day period in four different sessions, each using three apple varieties (JONAGOLD, INGRID MARIE, and ELISE). Marketing strategies differed between the sessions as follows: sort name labelling only, sort name and sensory description labelling, sort name and sensory semantic description labelling, and sort name labelling and allowing consumers to taste the apples before choosing.

Findings – Consumer product choice was affected by the sensory description labels. When only the sort name was given on the label, the consumers tended to choose INGRID MARIE, which has a strong sort name. With the addition of sensory description labels, the consumer choice shifted to ELISE, which had been chosen with a low frequency when only sort name was given, but was chosen with a high frequency when sensory description labelling was used.

Research limitations/implications – The study was limited to red apples and one national market.

Practical implications – Practitioners, managers, and marketers may benefit from using proper sensory labelling as a marketing tool for various food products, such as apples, in a grocery retail store.

Originality/value – This study shows the importance and value of sensory description label marketing for food products in grocery retail stores. Little attention has previously been paid to the research area within sensory marketing communication concerning the interplay of sensory perception of food and the formulation of marketing labels, or taste marketing. This paper also addresses the possible interaction between the disciplines of sensory and marketing science.

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