Looks matter! The effect of healthy packaging design on purchase decisions A study into the impact of health cues on food packaging on product evaluations and purchase decisions, moderated by individual susceptibility factors

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Due to growing concerns for becoming overweight or obese, many consumers are looking for products that fit within a healthy lifestyle. But research shows that many of the so-called ‘better-for-you’ products are not as healthy as they claim to be. Food producers are therefore accused of misleading consumers by falsely appealing to their health aspirations. However, knowledge about the effects of healthy packaging design on product evaluations and purchase decisions is limited. The aim of this study was to examine whether health cues on food packaging have an effect on buying intention, and whether this relationship is mediated by individual susceptibility factors. The Reactivity to Embedded Food Cues in Advertising Model will serve as a guiding framework. The participants (N = 300) were randomly assigned to one of four conditions in a 2 (packaging colour) x 2 (advertising claim) between-subjects experimental design. The results show that there is no effect of health cues on food packaging on attitude towards the product. The results did show a significant effect of attitude towards the product on buying intention. In addition, the moderating role of involvement with healthy foods could not be confirmed. Possible explanations for the results are examined, and suggested avenues for future research are discussed.
Faculteit der Sociale Wetenschappen