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Tactile/Haptic Aspects of Multisensory Packaging Design: Designing New Product Experiences

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Abstract

Consumers normally come into contact with the tactile attributes of packaging whenever they pick a food and beverage, or home and personal care, product off the shelf. What the consumer feels about the tactile attributes of the packaging (and their haptic interaction with it) can influence both their product expectations and thereafter their product experience. It should come as little surprise, therefore, to find that a growing number of companies/packaging designers are increasingly trying to distinguish their product packaging by giving it a ‘signature’ feel (i.e., one that distinguishes it haptically from the competition). There is also growing interest in functional tactile/haptic packaging that delivers a benefit in terms of enhancing the consumer’s multisensory product experience. That said, it is important to bear in mind that the tactile/haptic aspects of product packaging are typically not experienced in isolation; they are themselves influenced by the other sensory aspects of the packaging, such as its colour, fragrance, and potentially by any sounds that are heard when the consumer interacts with it. Therefore, anyone who is thinking about multisensory design really needs to consider these various crossmodal interactions in order to optimize the tactile/haptic design of their product packaging.

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... Alli, a fat-blocking pill from GlaxoSmithKline (approved by U.S. Federal Drug Administration; FDA) came to market in a reinvented pillbox called the 'shuttle' According to Johnson (2007): "It has a unique shape, can be opened with one hand and is made with soft rubber and careful texturing that is pleasing to the touch." (see also Anon., 1999;Spence, 2019a, on the tactile/haptic aspects of product packaging). There is undoubtedly scope here to consider whether 'image molds' operate in the OTC space. ...
... By analogy with what is seen in other categories, one could also imagine how brand name drugs ought to be presented in heavier packaging than their cheaper generics (see Velasco & Spence, 2019a). Thus far, though, the feel, or texture, of the packaging would seem to have been little studied in the pharmaceutical category (Spence, 2019a). That said, research with various other products suggests that consumers tend to associate rougher packaging with a stronger product (e.g., in the case of the alcohol content of a drinke.g., with higher alcohol vodka matching a rougher-feeling texture; see Spence & Piqueras-Fiszman, 2012). ...
... That said, research with various other products suggests that consumers tend to associate rougher packaging with a stronger product (e.g., in the case of the alcohol content of a drinke.g., with higher alcohol vodka matching a rougher-feeling texture; see Spence & Piqueras-Fiszman, 2012). Soft touch plastics have been successfully in the toothbrush category (Anon., 1999;Spence, 2019a), thus hinting at some of the possibilities in this space. ...
Article
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... 15 For instance, the shape and texture of the packaging may influence consumers' affective response, behavior, and evaluation of the product. 16,17 Meanwhile, consumers tend to judge the perceived experience in its entirety rather than one sense at a time. 18 In a study by Xiao et al., participants rated the properties of 34 different textile samples that they experienced via vision and touch. ...
... 11 Consumers' perceptions of product attributes or packages are typically influenced by crossmodal interactions between visual, haptic, auditory, and olfactory cues. 16,17,19 Furthermore, it has been reported that touching a product or surface can also give rise to and/or be associated with specific emotions and affection. [20][21][22][23] It has been suggested that ambient odors primarily evoke emotions via cognitive associations. ...
Article
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With the rapid development of digital technology, many consumers increasingly prefer to buy their clothes online. In order to improve the quality of online services and enrich the consumer experience of apparel e-customization, this paper develops item scales that measure positive emotion, visual perception, and haptic perception. It also evaluates the relationships between the item scales, attitude, and intention. It is an exploratory study on consumers’ multisensory perception and positive emotion mixed item scale (MPPEMIS), collected by experts. Supported by factor analysis and correlation analysis, both laboratory and online studies were conducted to test the reliability and validity between item scales, attitude, and intention. Visual factors (e.g., transparency, brightness, dimness), haptic factors (e.g., comfort, coarseness, softness), and positive emotion (e.g., excitement, attractive, pleasantness) are proved in the MPPEMIS, which positively correlates with the factors of attitude and intention in apparel e-customization. As such, the MPPEMIS may help to assist brand managers, marketers, and retailers by recommending easily understood information and providing item scales for apparel e-customization that can also be adopted in online service strategies and system modularization.
... Parallel to the research on the impact of haptic cues on multisensory flavour experience, a number of companies have focused on giving their packaging/servingware a distinctive feel, seemingly as a strategy to stand out from the competition (see Spence, 2019a), sometimes seemingly without considering the effect of the haptic container on the consumer's multisensory product experience (Skaczkowski, Durkin, Kashima, & Wakefield, 2016). In recent years, the impressive rise of the specialty coffee industry has undoubtedly opened up discussion about new ways of presenting coffee to the consumer. ...
... Sensation transference depends largely on the type of expectations certain product-extrinsic information elicits, and whether the expectations can be more-or-less fulfilled, or matched, by the flavour properties of the actual product. For instance, it has been reported that the smooth feeling of packaging or servingware in the consumer's hands can enhance the perception of sweetness of what is consumed (see Spence, 2019a, for a review). But this effect will be observed if and only if the product has some level of sweetness in the first place. ...
Article
It has been demonstrated previously that the surface textures of product packaging and servingware can impact the perceived taste and mouthfeel of various different foods and beverages. The present study was designed to investigate whether coffee cups with different surface textures would influence the judgment of taste and mouthfeel attributes in specialty coffee by experts (Q-graders) and amateur consumers alike. A total of 231 participants were tested in one of the three studies. A preliminary test conducted at a specialty coffee event in Russia indicated that rubbing a swatch of sandpaper whilst drinking coffee influenced perceived body and aftertaste qualities. In the two main studies (Experiment 1 for Q-graders, and Experiment 2 for amateurs), the participants evaluated a sample of specialty coffee (a different coffee in each study) served in either a smooth or a rough ceramic cup. The coffee was rated by the Q-graders as tasting significantly more acidic when sampled from the rough cup, as opposed to the smooth, whereas the amateurs perceived the coffee as being significantly sweeter when tasted from the smooth cup rather than from the rough cup instead. Both Q-graders and amateurs judged the aftertaste as significantly dryer when tasted from the rough rather than from the smooth cup. The perception of body was not significantly affected in any of the experiments. These results demonstrate that haptic cues influence the judgment of basic tastes as well as mouthfeel attributes in specialty coffee, for both experts and amateur consumers. Such results should be considered by the industry when designing innovative coatings for coffee cups. In addition to innovation, though, it is important to create cups that convey some functional and/or perceptual benefit for the coffee drinking experience.
... For example, it was demonstrated that consumers prefer products with which they can also have tactile experiences (Gallace, 2015;Gallace & Spence, 2014;Spence & Gallace, 2011). For this very reason, advertisements, more frequently than ever before, have begun to make use of images that can evoke sensations like tactile softness or even brand names that are semantically linked to the sense of touch (Nelson, & Hitchon, 1995;Nelson, & Hitchon, 1999;Spence & Gallace, 2011;Spence, 2019). Interestingly, Schifferstein and Desmet (2007) have found that the perception of a product 'familiarity' is mainly based on tactile, rather than on visual attributes. ...
Article
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... This particularity of tactile sensation translates into distinctions and preferences that are of great interest to companies who wish to fine-tune their products, giving consideration to the tactile experience delivered to the customer (Spence 2019;Spence and Gallace 2011). Thus, identifying parameters which are measurable in a laboratory setting that relate to human responses is valuable, because this can provide an understanding of how the parameters that are controllable during the production process can influence the tactile responses to their product. ...
Article
Full-text available
Humans are extraordinarily skilled in the tactile evaluation of, and differentiation between, surfaces. The chemical and mechanical properties of these surfaces are translated into tactile signals during haptic exploration by mechanoreceptors in our skin, which are specialized to respond to different types of temporal and mechanical stimulation. Describing the effects of measurable physical characteristics on the human response to tactile exploration of surfaces is of great interest to manufacturers of household materials so that the haptic experience can be considered during design, product development and quality control. In this study, methods from psychophysics and materials science are combined to advance current understanding of which physical properties affect tactile perception of a range of furniture surfaces, i.e., foils and coatings, thus creating a tactile map of the furniture product landscape. Participants’ responses in a similarity scaling task were analyzed using INDSCAL from which three haptic dimensions were identified. Results show that specific roughness parameters, tactile friction and vibrational information, as characterized by a stylus profilometer, a Forceboard, and a biomimetic synthetic finger, are important for tactile differentiation and preferences of these surface treatments. The obtained dimensions are described as distinct combinations of the surface properties characterized, rather than as ‘roughness’ or ‘friction’ independently. Preferences by touch were related to the roughness, friction and thermal properties of the surfaces. The results both complement and advance current understanding of how roughness and friction relate to tactile perception of surfaces.
... His book is covered in a thermally-responsive material in an attempt to entice more people to interact with it in the bookstore. This is likely to be a sensible idea as the likelihood of someone purchasing a product increases dramatically if they can be encouraged to pick it up in the store (see Spence, 2019b, for a review). The distinctive haptic experience associated with the handling of such volumes is obviously lost as soon as one switches to the e-book format. ...
Article
The failure of e-books to take over from the traditional print format, as was so confidently predicted would happen only a few years ago, highlights how there is more to reading than merely the content of what we see. In fact, like any other object, the experience of interacting with a book, especially an old or historic volume, offers the reader the potential for a multisensory encounter. One that involves not only what the book looks and feels like, both the weight of the volume and the feel of the pages, but also the distinctive smell. In fact, one might also want to consider the particular sound made by the pages as they are turned over. However, it is the smell of older, and seemingly more olfactorily-redolent, works that appears to be especially effective at triggering nostalgic associations amongst readers. It is therefore only by understanding the multisensory nature of handling books, as stressed by this review, that one can really hope to fully appreciate the enduring appeal of the traditional format in the modern digital era. Several recent exhibitions that have attempted to engage their visitors by means of exploring the multisensory appeal of historic books or manuscripts in their collections are briefly discussed. While the multisensory mental imagery that is typically evoked by reading is unlikely to differ much between the print and e-book formats, there is nevertheless still some evidence to suggest that physical books can occasionally convey information more effectively than their digital counterparts.
... This has led to a variety of innovative marketing strategies that can potentially be applied to other, less-developed, product categories. At the same time, however, the wine bottle itself, along with its traditional cork stopper, represents a very powerful marketing tool, especially for those who are able to caricature specific design features, such as, for example, increasing the weight of the bottle to try and signal quality (Spence, 2019e;Velasco & Spence, 2019). Selling the wine in a box can also help connote quality (Sung, Crawford, Teah, Stankovic, & Phau, 2020). ...
Article
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Basic cognitive research can help to explain our response to wine, and the myriad factors that affect it. Wine is a complex, culture-laden, multisensory stimulus, and our perception/experience of its properties is influenced by everything from the packaging in which it is presented through the glassware in which it is served and evaluated. A growing body of experiential wine research now demonstrates that a number of contextual factors, including everything from the colour of the ambient lighting through to background music can exert a profound, and in some cases predictable, influence over the tasting experience. Sonic seasoning - that is, the matching of music or soundscapes with specific wines in order to accentuate or draw attention to certain qualities/attributes in the wine, such as sweetness, length, or body, also represents a rapidly growing area of empirical study. While such multisensory, experiential wine research undoubtedly has a number of practical applications, it also provides insights concerning multisensory perception that are relevant to basic scientists. Furthermore, the findings of the wine research are also often relevant to those marketers interested in understanding how the consumers' perception of any other food or beverage product can potentially be modified.
... In the years since the NFT framework was put forward, a number of studies have documented that it provides a useful means of distinguishing meaningfully between different groups of consumers (Krishna and Morrin, 2008; see also Citrin et al., 2003). In practice, differences in the NFT typically mean that people are differentially affected by, and hence seek out, the tactile/haptic qualities of an object or material (Ackerman, 2016;Childers and Peck, 2010;Spence, 2019;Workman, 2010). Although it remains unclear, the suggestion is that these individual differences in the NFT presumably reflect more cognitive (i.e., central, rather than peripheral receptor-based) individual differences. ...
Article
We often estimate, or perceive, the quality of materials, surfaces, and objects, what the Japanese refer to as ‘shitsukan’, by means of several of our senses. The majority of the literature on shitsukan perception has, though, tended to focus on the unimodal visual evaluation of stimulus properties. In part, this presumably reflects the widespread hegemony of the visual in the modern era and, in part, is a result of the growing interest, not to mention the impressive advances, in digital rendering amongst the computer graphics community. Nevertheless, regardless of such an oculocentric bias in so much of the empirical literature, it is important to note that several other senses often do contribute to the impression of the material quality of surfaces, materials, and objects as experienced in the real world, rather than just in virtual reality. Understanding the multisensory contributions to the perception of material quality, especially when combined with computational and neural data, is likely to have implications for a number of fields of basic research as well as being applicable to emerging domains such as, for example, multisensory augmented retail, not to mention multisensory packaging design.
... When packaging and content are presented in rapid succession, people derive meaningful information or connotations from sensory cues presented by the packaging, establishing expectations with respect to the content (Becker et al., 2011;Garber et al., 2001). These multi-sensory associations exist not only when individuals directly touch the packaging/container prior to consumption, but also when the packaging/container is presented but cannot be touched during or directly prior to consumption (Barnett, Velasco, & Spence, 2016;Spence, 2019). Interestingly, touch stimuli appear to elicit greater effects on product perception and consumption experience when participants directly touch the touch stimuli prior to consumption than when they can only visually inspect the stimuli (Ferreira, 2019). ...
Article
Since a variety of packaging and containers have become commercially available in the market, there has been a rapidly growing interest in the influences of hand-feel touch cues on consumer perceptions and emotional responses toward food and beverage products. This study aimed to determine whether hand-feel touch cues of cup-sleeve materials could be associated with imagined (Study 1) and consumed (Study 2) basic tastes, and thereby affect the perception of brewed coffee (Study 3). Participants were asked to evaluate twelve different cup-sleeve materials with respect to evoked emotions and their degree of matching with each of the four basic taste qualities and brewed coffee-related flavor attributes (Study 1). Individual cup-sleeve materials were found to be more associated with specific taste qualities, coffee-related flavors, and emotions. Hand-feel touch cues of different sleeves were also found to be associated with taste qualities consumed (Study 2). For example, towel, linen, stainless steel, and cardboard materials were matched with sweet, salty, sour, and bitter taste qualities, respectively. Specific physical characteristics of cup-sleeve materials were found to be involved in mediating such cross-modal associations between hand-feel touch and taste cues. In Study 3, participants were asked to evaluate brewed coffee samples in paper cups both with cardboard sleeves and those made from the other test materials (towel, linen, and stainless steel). While participants rated black coffee samples with a towel sleeve less bitter than those with a cardboard sleeve, such differences were not observed in other pairwise comparisons. In conclusion, this study provided empirical evidence that hand-feel touch cues can be associated with specific taste or coffee-related flavor attributes, thereby modulating consumer perception of brewed coffee.
... Furthermore, manufacturers could design tactile-functional products in such a way as to facilitate tactile interactions and the formation of positive expectations about the ease of using them. In this respect, even a product's packaging might play an important role by influencing consumers' product expectations and experiences (Spence, 2018). These tactics could increase the likelihood that consumers, especially those high in instrumental NFT, would find tactile-functional products easy to use and potentially purchasable. ...
Article
This research examines how touching (versus not touching) tactile-functional products—namely those that provide a tactile feedback related to their utilitarian characteristics—affects these products’ expected ease, as well as consumers’ attitudes and intentions toward them. Three experimental studies investigated these effects by focusing on consumer electronics. Study 1 shows that product touch positively affects consumer attitude toward tactile-functional products via an increase of said products’ expected ease of use. Study 2 reveals that such an effect is moderated by consumers’ instrumental need for touch, that is, their propensity to touch products for diagnostic reasons. Study 3 demonstrates that even the mere imagination of product touch (vicarious touch) can boost the expected ease of using tactile-functional products and consumers’ intentions toward them. Thus, traditional and online retailers should be aware of the importance of actual and imagined product touch when striving to effectively market such products.
... Indeed, given the literature on shape symbolism, feeling angularity (e.g., on the outer surface of a whisky glass) is likely to accentuate the harsh notes in the drink (Spence, 2019b, for a review). Furthermore, the latest research shows that drinking from a receptacle with a rounded outer texture can help to make the beverage contained within taste sweeter (Van Rompay, Finger, Saakes, & Fenko, 2017; though see also Machiels, 2018;and Spence & Van Doorn, 2017, for a review). ...
Preprint
In recent years, several brands have received much negative press coverage when trying to market their food and drink products specifically at women. This is, in part, because the taste preferences/sensitivities of men and women are actually quite similar. In fact, perhaps the one and only area where consumers are willing to accept (or should that be swallow) ingested products explicitly targeted at women or men is in the case of nutritional foods/supplements. Such products are not really sold on the basis of their taste/flavour anyway. Many consumers are also sensitive to the so-called pink tax, when near-identical products cost more when sold to women rather than to men (e.g., as in the case of female razors). As the four recent examples discussed in this review make clear, it can be difficult to roll-out a new food or beverage product, or else extend a pre-existing product line, that is especially for women without coming across as sexist/condescending. As such, marketers need to tread carefully, otherwise they may end-up generating unwanted negative publicity. Ultimately, therefore, adopting an implicit approach to gender-based marketing, should that be the direction that a brand wants to take, will likely have more chance of avoiding negative publicity than the explicit targeting of food/beverage-related products in what is undoubtedly a highly-politicized area.
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Previous research exploring the impact of consumer expectations induced by packaging on food perception was mainly focussed on visual cues (e.g. written communication, pictures, shape) but few studies were dedicated to the role of tactile and sound properties. In the present study we selected a range of different materials and the first objective was to validate the sensory diversity of the materials and to obtain a sensory characterization by performing a descriptive analysis with a trained panel. The second objective was to explore the contribution of visual, tactile and auditory packaging material properties on expected naturalness for a dehydrated soup and to understand the role of sensory interactions between visual, tactile and auditory sensory modalities. For this purpose 120 consumers rated their expectation for naturalness of the food based on packaging material evaluation conducted under two test conditions: (1) a ‘unimodal’ condition whereby consumers assessed separately the visual, tactile and auditory stimuli from the materials; and (2) a ‘trimodal’ condition whereby consumers simultaneously assessed the visual, tactile and auditory stimuli from the materials. The third objective was to identify material sensory characteristics of naturalness impacting consumer food naturalness expectation. Our finding demonstrated that expected food naturalness was impacted not only by visual cues, as already widely demonstrated in the literature but also by tactile and to a lesser extent by auditory cues. Roughness, suppleness and low sound intensity were the material sensory characteristics impacting expected food naturalness. Results did not demonstrate perceptual interactions between visual, auditory and tactile stimulations on expected naturalness. This may suggest that information from the three different perceptual systems may be redundant so it might not have any added-value for integration. Further research should be performed in a shopping environment with package prototypes developed following our findings to confirm the role of tactile and auditory perception in food packaging experience.
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We draw upon literature examining cross‐modal sensory interactions and congruence to explore the impact of smell on touch. In line with our predictions, two experiments show that smell can impact touch in meaningful ways. Specifically, we show that multisensory semantic congruence between smell and touch properties of a stimulus enhances haptic perception and product evaluation. We explore this relationship in the context of two properties of touch, namely texture and temperature, and demonstrate that both smell and touch can have semantic associations, which can affect haptic perception and product evaluation depending on whether they match or not. In study 1, we focus on the semantic association of smell and touch (texture) with gender and in study 2 with temperature. Our results extend prior work on smell and touch within consumer behavior, and further contribute to emerging literature on multisensory interactions.
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The innovative print technologies developed by Crown Holdings for aerosol brands are discussed. Patterned Varnish technology creates a reflective, 3D effect, by emanating light and motion. Color Change technology creates the effect where a quick rotation of the pack can transform colors. Soft Touch is an over-varnish that creates a tactile and aesthetic effect for retail packaging. The important things to be considered when deciding on a print finish technology are also discussed.
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We report two naturalistic citizen science experiments designed to highlight the influence of the texture of plateware on people’s rating of the mouthfeel and taste of food (specifically, biscuits) sampled from that plateware. In the first experiment, participants tasted a biscuit from a pair of plates, one having a rough and the other a smooth finish. In the second experiment, participants tasted biscuits and jelly babies. Participants rated the mouthfeel and taste of the two foodstuffs. The results both confirm and extend previous findings suggesting that haptically and visually perceived texture can influence both oral-somatosensory judgments of texture as well as, in this case, the reported taste or flavour of the food itself. The crossmodal effects reported here are explained in terms of the notion of sensation transference. These results have potentially important implications for everything from the design of the tactile aspects of packaging through to the design of serviceware in the setting of the restaurant.
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The last few years have seen the rapid development of a range of novel packaging technologies that are currently enabling many companies to engage in radical innovation in terms of the multisensory packaging of their food and drink products. Consequently, more and more companies are now starting to introduce new coatings and packaging formats to their product lines. But just what multisensory attributes should one's packaging have? In this review, we highlight some of the most important recent developments in multisensory packaging design and innovation, focusing specifically on the beverage sector. The empirical evidence demonstrating the importance of the sight, sound, feel, smell, and, in some cases, even the taste/flavour of a product's packaging is critically reviewed. The latest research demonstrates how, at its very best, multisensory beverage packaging can significantly enhance a consumer's multisensory product experience (we call this 'functional' packaging). We also demonstrate how the latest insights from the fields of experimental psychology and cognitive neuroscience are now starting to provide insights concerning the design of novel multisensory packaging; Packaging that is starting to stimulate the consumer's senses more effectively and make the products (not to mention the experience of consuming them) more memorable and enjoyable.
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The role of packaging in modern marketing is a complex one. Because of increased marketplace competition, greater consumer sophistication, and the influence of ″truth in packaging″ laws, packaging plays a more important role in marketing than ever before. Unfortunately, managerial responsibility for packaging continues to lag behind that of the more traditional marketing elements. The authors explore this paradox and make suggestions for upgrading the importance of this new marketing technique.
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In the last few years, psychologists and neuroscientists have increasingly investigated the presence of multisensory interactions in people's perceptions of food and beverage. For example, the results of a recent questionnaire-based study showed that wine is believed to be more expensive and of better quality when contained in a heavier bottle. However, it remains unclear whether various foods or liquids share similar multisensory associations in the mind of the consumer. In a laboratory study, we investigated the multisensory interactions between the taste of mineral water and the weight of the plastic cup in which it is served. The participants evaluated the freshness, pleasantness, level of carbonation, and lightness of two types of mineral water (i.e., still and carbonated) using visual analogue scales. The water was served in three identical plastic cups, varying only in terms of their weight (i.e., light, medium, and heavy). The results showed that when a heavier cup was used, the participants perceived the mineral water as less pleasant. By contrast, they rated the water served in heavier cups as more carbonated than water served in lighter cups. These data demonstrate that crossmodal associations in taste perception depend on the category of the product being evaluated and the specific quality that is rated. Such findings are extremely important for understanding the role of sensory interaction in food evaluation as well as encouraging healthier eating and drinking behaviors.
Chapter
This chapter highlights the roles of the various senses and their interplay when people interact with different products. Besides highlighting the key theoretical debates in this area, the discussion centers on empirical data gathered in well-controlled experimental studies, as well as on survey data. It also highlights a number of examples where the theoretical principles of multisensory perception have actually been incorporated and tested in the design of everyday products. It describes a particular topic and then critically discusses a number of scientific studies that have investigated this topic. Typically, each topic can be characterized not only by its content but also by the specific approaches and research methods that are used. Additionally, where possible it outlines how this knowledge is used or can be used in the development of new products. It reviews what happens when people switch their attention between different sensory systems. Given that the senses typically do not work in isolation, but rather operate as an integrated whole, it discusses the links that people experience intuitively between phenomena occurring in different sensory modalities and the ways in which sensory information from the different modalities is integrated into a holistic product experience. Furthermore, it highlights some of the important emerging challenges currently facing researchers and designers in the area of multisensory product design.
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The study of food packaging is important as packaging represents the first contact between consumer and product. Attributes of interest in the study of instant coffee were initially determined by a focus group study. Subsequently, eight images of instant coffee packages were developed for the quantitative study, separately, for glass jars and refill packs (24−1 design, eight images, each). The package images were evaluated by a total of 206 coffee consumers for purchase intention. Two main groups of consumers were formed and characterized for each study in the conjoint analysis. For refill packs, purchase intention increased with the presence of photo depicting coffee cup with foam and coffee beans and additional information; for glass jars, lower price and shape. Brand was not emphasized as impacting in purchase intent of instant coffees, a positive finding for manufacturers of lesser known brands: improving packaging attributes may encourage product sales.Practical ApplicationsThese results are relevant to sensory scientists and instant coffee manufacturers interested in how packaging characteristics can impact on the purchase intention by consumers. Although coffee represents a significant source of income worldwide, there is less information in the literature about the effect of nonsensory parameters, such as packaging characteristics, in consumers' acceptance and purchase of instant coffee. The study showed that brand was less important than price and packaging attributes, such as additional information, adequate illustration (for refill packs) and package shape (for glass jars). Therefore, these results should hopefully help coffee manufacturers develop their packages and improve their sales, mainly those of lesser known brands, new brands or brands less associated with instant coffee.
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Polyvinyl convenience food packages are difficult for most people to open, but what does that cause besides frustration?
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This article constitutes a state-of-the-art review of the literature on the effects of expectations on the sensory perception of food and drink by humans. In the ‘Introduction’, we summarize the theoretical models of expectations that have been put forward. In the ‘Empirical research utilizing direct methods’ section, we describe the influence that expectations created by a variety of product extrinsic cues have on sensory perception, hedonic appraisal, and intake/consumption. We critically evaluate the evidence that has emerged from both laboratory studies and real-world research conducted in the setting of the restaurant, canteen, and bar. This literature review is focused primarily on those studies that have demonstrated an effect on tasting. Crucially, this review goes beyond previous work in the area by highlighting the relevant cognitive neuroscience literature (see the section ‘Applied research through the lens of cognitive neuroscience methods’) and the postulated psychological mechanisms of expectation in terms of recent accounts of predictive coding and Bayesian decision theory (see the ‘Predictive coding and expectations’ section).
Article
Based on the theory of crossmodal correspondence, which addresses transfer effects from one sense to another, and research that has explored the impact of touch on taste, the present study examined how the packaging materials of traditional Chinese cold tea drinks generated touch–taste associations. Blindfolded participants used a set of tasting attribute items to evaluate the taste of a liquid food product that differed only by the materials used to contain it, although they were led to believe that the products could differ. The results of Experiment 1 suggest that consumers’ haptic perception of packing materials significantly impacted their sense of the product’s SWEET dimension, but not the product’s SOUR or BITTER dimensions. Consumers rated a liquid food product’s sense of cold and ice (sub-dimensions of SWEET) higher when it was presented in a glass container rather than in paper or organic plastic containers. However, with the cups’ weight controlled, the results of Experiment 2 revealed that consumers’ haptic perception of packing materials only significantly impacted their sense of ice, but not their sense of cold. Consumers rated a liquid food product’s sense of ice higher when it was presented in a glass container rather than in an organic plastic container. The preliminary findings of both experiments indicate a crossmodal correspondence between the touch of food packaging materials and the taste of the food contained within them. Sensation transference provides the most likely explanation for the results. Affective ventriloquism effects provide another, but less likely, explanation. The study’s implications for choosing between packaging materials for liquid food products are discussed.
Article
This study investigates how consumers are affected by haptic information, that is, the information acquired through the sense of touch, when they take part in the construction or assembly of a product. In order to create value for consumers, marketers must understand how and why haptic information affects the evaluative processes of consumers and whether there are specific segments that are affected differentially by the process. An experimental design with two between-subjects factors was used to examine consumers' responses to haptic stimulation during the physical construction of a picture frame. The results demonstrate that positive haptic stimulation evoked by the materials used in the product's construction results in an affective response and creates emotional attachment to the finished product. However, the effect is not generalizable to the general population. It depends on the level of autotelic (not functional) need for touch (NFT) that the consumer has. Consumers who have high autotelic NFT are more likely to become attached to and, consequently, enhance their evaluation of the finished product when the product materials used during the construction evoke a positive haptic stimulation.
Article
Purpose ‐ This paper aims to examine how visual and haptic package design characteristics singularly and jointly affect consumers' brand impressions. Design/methodology/approach ‐ Integrating and extending design perception with congruence and fluency theories, the paper presents three research propositions that are tested in three studies. Bottled water serves as an example category with data provided by professionals and consumers. Findings ‐ Study 1 identifies key types of holistic bimodal designs (Modern, Big Grip, Prototypical-Small, Boxy Billboards, and Prototypical-Large) based on brand visual and haptic factors. Study 2 relates these types to unique single-modal brand impressions. Study 3 determines how consumers evaluate brands depending on the semantic congruence between haptics and visuals. Except for the excitement dimension, brand evaluations are more positive under conditions of high rather than low congruence. Research limitations/implications ‐ The findings are obtained for a single category (bottled water) using experiments designed to highlight and focus consumer attention on the formation of impressions. The findings may thus not fully reflect consumer responses in actual retail purchase situations. Practical implications ‐ The paper provides preliminary guidelines on how to utilize visual and haptic cues in the design of brand packages for stimulating desired consumer responses. Originality/value ‐ The work presented in this paper contributes to the literature on design-based brand inferences and semantic congruence by integrating the visual with the haptic perspectives.
Article
This study replicates and extends Krishna's (2006) work on the cross-modal interaction effect of vision and touch on elongation bias by investigating whether container weight exerts an influence on elongation bias. Results indicated that there is no elongation bias when participants perceive tall and short containers as being the same weight. Moreover, information about container weight can be used as a heuristic cue when one is estimating volume.
Article
We report a preliminary experiment designed to investigate people's product expectations (for a liquid soap) as a function of its fragrance and packaging. To this end, a series of soap bottles was produced that were identical in shape but had different intensities of colouring (white, pink, or red). The weight of the bottles also varied (either light -350 g, or heavy -450 g). Two different concentrations of perfume were added to the liquid soap contained in the bottles (either low or high). The participants evaluated the perceived intensity of the fragrance contained in each bottle, the perceived weight of each bottle, and the expected efficacy of the soap itself (that is, the soap's expected "cleaning ability"). The results revealed a significant main effect of the colour of the packaging on the perceived intensity of the soap's fragrance. Significant effects of the perceived weight of the container on both the perceived intensity of the fragrance and on the expected efficacy of the soap were also documented. These results are discussed in terms of the design of multisensory packaging and containers for liquid body soap and, more generally, for body care and beauty products.
Article
During the various stages of user–product interactions, different sensory modalities may be important and different emotional responses may be elicited. We investigated how a dehydrated food product was experienced at different stages of product usage: choosing a product on a supermarket shelf, opening a package, cooking and eating the food. At the buying stage, vision was the most important modality, followed by taste. Smell was dominant at the cooking stage, and taste was the most important sensation while eating the food. Analysis of the emotional dynamics showed that ratings for satisfaction and pleasant surprise tended to be lowest during the buying stages. Fascination and boredom ratings tended to decrease gradually over the course of the experiment. Comments mostly reflected responses to sensory qualities, usability aspects, and the nature of the product. At the purchase stage, pre-existing attitudes and stereotypes towards the product group seemed to play a major role in affective reactions, while in the other stages when other modalities were actively involved, participants’ emotional judgements reflected mainly their direct sensory experience.
Article
In many categories, weight has been found to influence how users perceive and appraise products. However, to date, the influence of the weight of the dish in which food is served on people’s perception has not been studied empirically. This exploratory study was therefore designed to investigate whether the weight of the container would exert a significant influence on people’s sensory and hedonic responses to the food consumed from it. Three bowls, identical except for the fact that they were different weights, were filled with exactly the same yoghurt. Consumers evaluated the yoghurt samples from the three bowls holding them with one hand, one at a time. Participants rated flavor intensity, density, price expectation, and liking using 9-point likert scales. Significant effects were found for all attributes except for flavor intensity. The effects on both density and price expectation ratings were highly significant.These findings are potentially relevant for designers and those working in restaurants, the hospitality sector, and food production, since the design and choice of dishes (or packages) of various weights could potentially be used to help enhance and/or modify the way in which consumers perceive and experience the food consumed from them.
Article
Most of the published research on the perception of food texture has focused on what happens in-mouth during consumption. It is, however, important to note that people’s judgments of food texture can also be influenced by other sensory cues, such as haptic input, be it their direct contact with the food, or possibly also their indirect contact with the product packaging as well. The aim of the present study was to investigate whether changing the surface texture of the product packaging would affect people’s perception of the product contained within—that is, we wanted to know whether the feel of the packaging held in a consumer’s hand would influence the perceived texture of the food. Participants tasted biscuits and yoghurt samples from pots (yoghurt containers) that varied in terms of their surface texture (rough/granular vs. smooth). Additionally, the foodstuffs also varied in terms of their texture (crunchiness and thickness, respectively). In a 2 × 2 experimental design, the participants assessed the texture of the foodstuff and their liking for it while holding the pot in their non-dominant hand. The results revealed that the texture of the container influenced participants’ ratings of certain of the texture attributes being assessed, namely the most related ones. These findings shed light on the importance of nondiagnostic haptic cues (defined as those that objectively should not identify or prompt any effect) in the perception of food. These results, explained in terms of sensation transference, could have important implications for the food packaging and hospitality sectors.
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We report a study designed to assess whether there is any ‘weight’ to the claim that better (or, at the very least, more expensive) wines come in heavier bottles. A field study was conducted in an independent wine retailer in which we looked for correlations between weight, price, and a range of other explanatory variables. The data concerning 275 wine bottles from five countries were analyzed. An internet-based questionnaire was also conducted in order to assess the belief that 150 Spanish consumers held concerning the relationship between the weight of the bottle and the quality (and price) of the wine. The results revealed that the weight of the wine bottles correlated positively and significantly with the price of the wines; the significance level of this correlation varied by country. In addition, the weight of the bottle was also correlated with a number of other properties of the wine, including its vintage, color, and alcohol content. These findings suggest that consumers can extract potentially useful information by simply ‘feeling’ the price of the wine (i.e., by holding the bottle in their hands). The results of the questionnaire revealed a consumer trend toward associating the weight of the bottle, the price of the wine, and its quality.
Article
Participants evaluated a book as more important when it weighed heavily in their hands (due to a concealed weight), but only when they had substantive knowledge about the book. Those who had read a synopsis (Study 1), had read the book (Study 2) and knew details about its plot (Study 3) were influenced by its weight, whereas those unfamiliar with the book were not. This contradicts the widely shared assumption that metaphorically related perceptual inputs serve as heuristic cues that people primarily use in the absence of more diagnostic information. Instead, perceptual inputs may increase the accessibility of metaphorically congruent knowledge or may suggest an initial hypothesis that is only endorsed when supporting information is accessible.
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Designers’ visual way of knowing and working tends to be highly valued in design research. In architecture such an approach is increasingly criticized. Since people experience buildings with all their senses, architects’ visual focus is said to the run the risk of disregarding non-visual aspects. This study focuses on the visual and tactile assessment of building materials. Analyses show that architecture students assess several experiential qualities differently by touch than by vision. Vision dominates the overall assessment, yet does not always anticipate touch correctly. Moreover architecture students seem to be unaware of how common building materials feel, and are unable to identify them by touch only. This identifies the need for a more elaborate consideration of non-visual aspects during design in general and design education in particular.
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Retailers can benefit from allowing customers to touch their products. The influence of tactile input on evaluation, however, remains undemonstrated in the literature. In four experiments, effects of tactile input were observed for product categories wherein tactile input was diagnostic, and depended on product quality. While this effect was moderated by individual differences in need for touch when there was no opportunity for multiple product comparisons, there was no support for a mediating role of affect. Implications for retailing theory and practice are discussed.
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I define “sensory marketing” as “marketing that engages the consumers' senses and affects their perception, judgment and behavior.” From a managerial perspective, sensory marketing can be used to create subconscious triggers that characterize consumer perceptions of abstract notions of the product (e.g., its sophistication or quality). Given the gamut of explicit marketing appeals made to consumers every day, subconscious triggers which appeal to the basic senses may be a more efficient way to engage consumers. Also, these sensory triggers may result in consumers' self-generation of (desirable) brand attributes, rather than those verbally provided by the advertiser. The understanding of these sensory triggers implies an understanding of sensation and perception as it applies to consumer behavior—this is the research perspective of sensory marketing. This review article presents an overview of research on sensory perception. The review also points out areas where little research has been done, so that each additional paper has a greater chance of making a bigger difference and sparking further research. It is quite apparent from the review that there still remains tremendous need for research within the domain of sensory marketing—research that can be very impactful.
Article
Although consumers like to touch products while shopping, the authors propose a theory of consumer contamination, positing that consumers evaluate products previously touched by other shoppers less favorably. The authors test the theory by manipulating cues that increase the salience that consumer contact has occurred. Furthermore, the authors investigate the role of disgust as the underlying mechanism of the theory.