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The proper APA Style reference for this manuscript is:
ANGELA, H. L. (2006). Taste the Label:. National Undergraduate Research Clearinghouse, 9. Available online at http://www.webclearinghouse.net/volume/. Retrieved September 28, 2023 .

Taste the Label:

Sponsored by: PATRICIA MARSH (pmarsh1@missouriwestern.edu)
The effects of marketing and labeling on taste perceptions is an issue most consumers tend to question. Researchers have investigated this dilemma through terms of brand preference that is broke down into three categories of brand recognition, loyalty, and image. The effects of attractiveness or “cues” on labeling are also examined and how attractiveness or “cues” are linked to persuading consumers to refer their product. These two studies were used to support my hypothesis that: Students are more likely to have favorable taste perceptions while viewing national brand food labels then those viewing generic food labels. The results of this study will be presented at the Biannual Multidisciplinary Research Poster Presentation at Missouri Western University, Saint Joseph, Missouri.

With food being a necessity for human life, taste expectations and perceptions are a very important part of our everyday existence. Marketing managers know this and that’s why so much of our consumer’s dollars are spent on marketing, labeling, and advertising, not on product quality. The impact of labeling and marketing can be an influential factor when deciding which product people think has the better quality or taste. As a consumer looks at a label he or she can be positively or negatively persuaded to judge in a particular manner. That’s why throughout marketing labeling can operate as having a placebo effect. This is accomplished by giving your brain an expectation of the product being good or bad (Nitschke, 2006). It could be said that the sensory portion of the brain is being persuaded. This potent impact of expectancy is what leads many individuals to continue in their buying habits or as other researches may consider it to be elements of brand equity that is the impact brand knowledge has on the consumer which is an influential component of consumer response (Keller, 1993).Elements of brand equity consist of the consumer having a preference for a particular brand (national vs. generic). Brand preference is also broke down into three categories brand recognition, image, and loyalty. Brand equity is defined “as the differential effect of brand knowledge on consumer response to the marketing of the brand” (Keller, 1993, p. 2). According to Keller (1993), brand recognition is the consumer’s ability to differentiate a certain brand when given the brand as a cue. Brand image is the consumers overall brand associations with a particular product (De Wulf, Odekerken-Schroder, Ossel, & Goedertier, 2005). Consumers can actually have a personal memory from childhood or other triggers that can influence them to purchase the product or not to purchase the product this is another way of explaining brand image. Brand loyalty perceptions can be learned through experience. Maybe your mother favored the particular item because her mother did and so on. Individuals who are creatures of habit might us brand loyalty as a way of making shortcuts in decision making. Consumers may also have the belief that price and packaging is an accurate predictor of quality (Pechman & Cornelia, 1992). Other forms of brand equity are found in antecedents such as slogans, jingles, packaging or symbols. For example, remember the California Raisins? Consumer interest in raisins was almost non-existent when marketing researchers came up with a familiar jingle called “I heard it through the grape vine” along with five dancing raisins. After brand equity application raisin sales went up and the marketing proved to be well worth its weight in gold.Due to the national brands having access to more funds to promote advertising on a more consistent basis consumers perceive national brands as having superior quality compared to store brands or generic grocery items. This was observed when consumers were asked to rate the store brand with the same ingredients as the national brand. With brand equity national brands hold a level of equity and image, over and above quality, that is not offset by the lower price of store brands. Regardless of ingredients or product rating consumers perceive the national brand more favorably due to brand equity and brand image (De Wulf et al., 2005).Attractiveness or “cues” on labels are linked to persuading consumers to refer to their product as better or of a higher quality. Marketers direct commercials to attract the attention of children in hopes that they will persuade their parents to purchase the item or in hope that when the children are adults they will associate that product with feelings of comfort and purchase the product as they reach adulthood.Physical attractiveness has an effect of being aesthetically pleasing and therefore may elicit positive effects, which can lead perceivers to think that more attractive labels possess a better tasting product (Eagly, Makhijani, Ashmore, Longo, 1989). This is due to the promotion of attractiveness in our modern society and the stereotypes associated with attractiveness are socially favored. Stereotyping occurs within almost ever fiber of our culture; things, labels, and people can be perceived as being of greater quality although the true test comes when the product is evaluated. Media and marketers display a misconception of if it looks good on the outside it must be even better on the inside (Eagly et al., 1989). Consumers may also rate food quality differently based on their own food preference (Faulds & Lonial, 2001). Fixed schemas may result in the consumer having a general positive perspective with price and quality or poses a negative relationship between price and quality (Lichtenstein, Burton, 1989). For example, consumers who rate quality based on perceptions of product categories that is, when the national brand is thought of as having better quality as opposed to the generic brand thought of having poorer quality. Price has been a poor indicator of product quality for durable goods (Lichtenstein, et al., 1989). If consumers rely on price to be the indicator for quality they will continue to make erroneous errors in their buying habits, such as spending money on marketing instead of quality or quantity (Lichtenstein, et al., 1989). For example, the consumer will buy products based on what other consumers see as having the most popularity based on labeling, packaging, and most importantly advertising. In addition to schemas and preferences, consumers may be influenced by products in the way they are displayed in the marketplace. Items don’t just appear on shelves or racks based on the first letter of the title. Marketers pay big money to have their product in particular places. For example, in the cereal isle store, generic, and other less popular brands are located in areas where the consumer’s eye is not trained to focus. These non-brand name items are usually in the top corners or located on the ends of the isle because most individuals approach the grocery isle by going to the center to make their choices and then work their way outward (De Wulf et al., 2005). Products targeted at children are located at eye level to give them easier access to the product. For example, how often do you see Fruit Loops on the top shelf or towards the end of the isle? The answer is you most likely have not because it’s primarily going to be located near the center toward the bottom. Marketers have invested time and money observing the behavior and buying habits of its patrons. These strategic, although simplistic, steps have been taken to ensure brand equity. Brand recognition and brand image make it more convenient for the buyer to make shortcuts in decision making while shopping. This is a place were brand equity has paid off for food and other retail industries (De Wulf et al., 2005).Recent empirical evidence has related quality perceptions of store brand as being perceived higher to that of national brands. These findings are also consistent with recent trends suggesting that store brands rank equally with nationally advertised brands (Fitzell, 1992). Researchers (Quelch & Harding, 1996) disagree with the stigma attached to store brands, stating that private labels are of higher quality and more consumers are choosing the private labels over the competing national brands. Researchers are indicating there is no longer a stigma attached with buying private labels (Quelch & Harding, 1996). This is due to store brands being regarded as comparable in terms of quality to national brands. Consumers perceive store brands as being just another brand in the marketplace. There is still are marginal difference in consumer preference in terms of purchasing national vs. store brands/private labels. This difference is due to private label suppliers having less market power in contrast with national brand manufacturers (De Wulf et al., 2005).

Ho: Students are more likely to have favorable taste perceptions while viewing national brand food labels then those viewing generic food labels.

ParticipantsI used subjects a random sample of general psychology students to participate in this study. MaterialsThe national brand label used for this study was Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes along with the generic Always Save Sugar Frosted Flakes. ProceduresSome of the students were given a questionnaire with the appearance of a generic label and other students were given a questionnaire with the appearance of a national brand label. The questionnaires included a rating scale consisting of ten questions to be answered after the subjects tasted the cereal. Five were behavioral based questions used to control for limiting factors (co-variants) and five were used to rate taste and perception (taste, texture, etc.).DV. Response to the picture located on questionnaireIV. Picture on questionnaireCovariates: • Are you dieting?• Current buying habits?• Living on you own?• Financially independent?• Do you like or dislike cereal in general?

An ANOVA was conducted to test for whether students are more likely to have favorable taste perceptions while viewing national brand food labels then those viewing generic food labels. There was no significant difference in those viewing generic vs. national brand food labels. A correctional test was conducted to show significant differences do exist App Color Taste Texture Overall Rating App -- Color .72*** -- Taste .72*** .56*** -- Texture .73*** .59*** -- Overall Rating .73*** .66*** .90*** .73*** --

The main hypothesis for this study was that students are more likely to have favorable taste perceptions while viewing national brand food labels then those viewing generic food labels. Several one-way ANOVAs were conducted on the type of label (generic vs. national brand) and on each of the five rating measures. After computing all five on-way ANOVAs no significant differences were found. A potential reason no significant difference within the data could be due to having to small of a sample size or not having enough time to conduct a more thorough experiment. A larger sample size would be helpful as was seen when viewing past research where 200 to 300 subjects were used to conduct the experiment. In this experiment there were only 43 available subjects participating in my study. The students’ inability to participate could have primarily been due them needing to prepare for end of the semester finals or other pressing academic commitments that was beyond the researcher’s control. However when correlational analyses were conducted results indicate that significant relationships do exist in overall ratings between appearance, color, taste, and texture, refer to table one in results section for further information. However for a researcher doing a follow-up study he/she may want to apply a counter balancing approach along with using a larger sample size. By doing this the researcher could improve the chances of finding a more significant difference within the data.

De Wulf, D. K., Odekerken-Schroder, G., Ossel, V.G., & Goedertier, F. (2005). Consumer perceptions of store brands versus national brands. Journal of Consumer Marketing, 22 (4), 223-232.Eagly, H.A., Makhijani, G.M., Ashmore, D. R., & Longo, C.L. (1989). What is beautiful is good, but…: A meta-analytic review of research on the analytic review of research on the physical attractiveness stereotype. Psychology Bulletin, 110, 109-128.Faulds, J. D., & Lonial, C.S. (2001). Price-quality relationships of nondurable consumer products: A european and united states perspective. Journal of Economic and Social Research, 3(1), 59-76.Fitzell, P. (1992). Private label marketing in the 1990s. New York, NY: Global Book ProductionsKeller, K.L. (1993). Conceptualizing, measuring, and managing customer-based brand equity. Journal of Marketing, 57(1), 1-22.Lichtenstein, D.R., & Burton, S. (1989). The relationship between perceived and objective price-quality. Journal of Marketing Research, 26, 429-443.Nitschke, B.J. (2006). Great (taste) expectations: Study shows brain anticipates taste, shifts gears. Back to Eurek Alert. (2006, February21). Retrieved February 22, 2006, http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2006-02/uow-ge0022106.phpPechmann, (1992). Consumer covariation judgments: Theory or data driven? Journal of Consumer Research, 19(3), 373-386. Quelch, J.A., & Harding, D. (1996, January-February). Brands versus private labels: Fighting to win. Harvard Business Review, January-February, 99-109.

Submitted 5/8/2006 10:28:32 AM
Last Edited 5/8/2006 10:37:06 AM
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