Signalling taste through packaging: The effects of shape and colour on consumers’ perceptions of white cheeses
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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- Scientific articles 
This paper questions whether manufacturers can utilize visual packaging cues, in particular colours and shapes, to communicate the intrinsic attributes of cheeses. While the existence of crossmodal correspondences between packaging shapes and tastes have been demonstrated in previous food studies, we still need knowledge about how the interaction of colour and shape of the packaging that the cheese is sold influence customers’ expectations of taste and liking. Throughout two studies, we illustrate that specific shapes and colours communicate certain cheese tastes. In study 1, we found that, while a mild tasting cheese is associated with round shapes, high colour brightness and low colour saturation, a sharp tasting cheese is associated with an angular shape, lower level of colour brightness and higher level of colour saturation. This knowledge can be utilized to communicate taste via the design of the packaging. In study 2, we moved on to test this via packaging. We found that a round shaped packaging combined with high colour brightness and low colour saturation communicates a mild taste, whereas a triangular shape packaging combined with a low colour brightness/ high saturation signals a sharper tasting cheese. Moreover, a round packaging elicits the highest degree of liking. Our findings demonstrate that multiple sensory elements of a product’s packaging can enhance respondents’ taste expectations and expected liking of a product. In conclusion, this paper offers guidance to managers seeking to design packaging that communicates the flavour of food products, specifically for cheeses.