Impact of Common Food Labels on Consumer Liking in Vanilla Yogurt
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As competition on super market shelves is higher than ever, the importance of product concepts, communicated through labels, can dictate a product’s success or failure. However, it is possible for labels to affect a consumer’s experience, changing the overall response to the product. In this study, we tested samples of yogurt with one of four commonly used labeling concepts (high-protein, low-fat, made with stevia and all-natural) on sensory perception, consumer liking, expected consumption amount, and willingness to pay (WTP) in a consumer test (n =108). Each participant evaluated five samples of the same vanilla yogurt identified with one of the labels, or an unlabeled control. Results showed panelists liked the samples labeled with low-fat and high-protein to the greatest degree, with all-natural scoring the lowest. Those more concerned with protein content found the samples less satiating, dependent on sex. Sweetness was also perceived more highly in younger panelists, with panelists WTP dependent on their liking of the labels. Results highlight the importance of labeling as an extrinsic cue affecting liking ratings, with potential ramification for ultimate product success. Understanding consumers’ response to labels, as well as their attitudes, has broad implications for food marketing, as well as public health and the study of eating habits.
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