“Pretty” is appealing, it’s proven

I always thought I knew it but now I can relax and enjoy the confirming results from a study made by the University of Calgary. The study concludes that children prefer the taste of foods in pretty and decorative packaging and also that packaging design play an even stronger role than product branding.

SupermarketThe study was about examining the effects of branding and packaging on young children’s taste preferences. Young children got to taste identical foods in either branded packaging (strong brands like McDonald’s and Starbucks), in plain or in colourful but unbranded packaging. The kids were then asked if the foods tasted the same or if one tasted better.

The results are clear, children preferred the taste of foods wrapped in colourful and decorative wrappings, relying more on design than on familiar branding when making their choices. The findings challenge established commercial advertising and brand promotion on television and other media platforms.

The study concludes that “More attention should be directed at the important role of packaging in directing children’s food preferences.” But I would like to extend the findings to include us all. We do rely on all our senses when we make that choice in the supermarket aisles. We make our decision and a pretty and alluring pack design will support it.

It is time to make room for the packaging dimension of the product proposition in the brand owner’s mind sets and budgets to survive and grow their market shares.

Of course packaging functionality and quality of product etc. are important but that is for next step, repeat purchase.

The bigger the better…?

We are getting bigger, no doubt. This obesity pandemic is putting pressure on health care systems throughout the world. There is obviously a cost related to this, both an individual personal one and an actual monetary.

The medical costs are easier to distinguish and calculate. According to McKinsey the United Kingdom spent more than £4 billion on obesity-related medical costs in 2007. The United States currently spends about $160 billion which is twice what it did a decade ago.

Now these numbers only represent a fraction of the pandemic’s total economic burden on societies. The graph below specifies the different actual costs to society and the individual and shows the final cost which is a stunning $450 billion annually in the US.



Packaging can support diets simply by sizing up portions of adequate size. It can of course also carry messages to encourage the person who needs a push to limit intake and get away from some weight.

Then I see the new cup size to be launched by Starbucks. This can’t be meant to support a healthy diet. Even if you fill it with something as neutral as tap water it is simply too much for the human to stomach.

I assume it’s meant for sharing…