Food imperfection and customer perception: can additional humorous labelling on imperfect fruit affect customers' perception?
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- Master of Science 
The aim of this thesis is to analyze in depth a matter that has been of great interest in the last 10 years: food waste. After various studies (Elder & Krishna, 2011; Loebnitz & Grunert, 2014;) that have established that people waste most of their food due to imperfections in shape, color, size and packaging, and furthermore, also supermarkets fuel this behavior (Cicatiello, Franco, Pancino & Blasi,2016), the aim of this research is to understand if a plausible marketing solution can be found. Inspired by a French supermarket: Intermachè - who was one of the first large retailers to promote and advertise imperfect food products- the research continued in expanding the topic of humorous labelling in literature and subsequently analyzing potential variables that could influence the behavior toward imperfect foods like Disgust. Thus, our research question is: “Can additional humorous labelling on imperfect fruit affect customers’ perception? For the concept of “customer perception” the variables Willingness to Purchase and Willingness to Pay were considered. Four images, of a fictitious supermarket “Paptrita”, were created for the study, showing: a normal apple, a normal apple with humorous labelling, an abnormal apple and an abnormal apple with humorous labelling. The humorous labelling was: “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” for the normal apple and “An ugly apple a day, still keeps the doctor away” for the abnormal apple. These images were randomly shown to the participants through an on-line survey. An in-between subjects two-way ANOVA was used to study the relation between the means of the different groups and a further ANCOVA analysis was conducted to control for Disgust and to compare the different groups. The results indicate that showing either a normal apple or an abnormal apple does make a difference for the customer. Normal shaped foods are still preferred to the abnormal ones, keeping all other things equal. There is no significant difference amongst the normal apple with or without labelling. However, when we introduce the humorous labelling on the abnormal apple, we have significant results on Willingness to Purchase and Willingness to Pay when compared to the normal apple, normal apple with humorous labelling, he abnormal apple as well as the abnormal apple with humorous labelling.
Masteroppgave(MSc) in Master of Science in Strategic Marketing Management - Handelshøyskolen BI, 2018