News

Clear Packaging Vs. Opaque: Does it affect how much people eat?

Journal of Marketing study looks at snacking habits, finds packaging transparency makes a difference

August 7, 2013

Apparently, people eat less cookies from transparent packages than they do from opaque ones, when they’re snacking away in front of the TV. But, on the flip side, they actually eat more M&M’S as they channel surf, if the colorful candies are in clear packaging. snacking

The difference? Well, the cookies are a large snack, while the M&M’S are small.

So, to increase sales, retailers should offer small foods (like M&M’S) in transparent packages and large foods (like cookies) in opaque containers.

That’s according to a new paper that appears in the July 2013 issue of the American Marketing Association's Journal of Marketing. It was written by professors Xiaoyan Deng, of Ohio State University's Fisher College of Business, and Raji Srinivasan, of McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas in Austin.

In short, the researchers found that clear bags make it easier to be tempted by tasty-looking foods, but they also reveal how much you're about to eat.

The study placed experimental subjects in a common snacking environment: in front of the television (where 70 percent of all snacks are consumed).

Researchers told the subjects that they would be evaluating advertisements that ran during episodes of the popular sitcom The Office.  Participants were provided with snack foods including nuts, cookies, M&M’S, Cheerios and Froot Loops to munch on while they watched TV.

Some foods were offered in transparent bags, while others in opaque bags.

Of course, the focus of the study was on the food, not the commercials. The authors weighed and counted the contents of the bags before handing them out. When the "ad evaluation" was done, containers were collected and labeled with each subject's identifying number. Professor Deng notes "We measured food consumption. We didn't [just] get people's attitudes."

The researchers found that the transparency of food packaging influences snacking habits in different ways depending on the size, visual appeal and healthiness of the food it contains.

Participants ate less large, visually appealing snack foods (such as cookies) from transparent packages than they did from opaque ones.

However, researchers also found that small foods like M&M’S were more appealing in clear packaging — participants ate 58 percent more M&M’S from the transparent bags than they did from the opaque bag.

The authors also examined what happened when healthy foods — in this case, baby carrots — were offered in transparent and opaque bags.

The unexpected outcome: People ate fewer carrots from transparent packages than opaque ones.

"The health food results were somewhat surprising to us," Srinivasan says.

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to Candy Industry

Recent Articles by Crystal Lindell

You must login or register in order to post a comment.

Multimedia

Videos

Image Galleries

A Venetian Carnival, a Jelly Belly sculpture and gourmet chocolates! Oh my!

Candy Industry takes you into the French Pastry’s School For the Love of Chocolate event in Chicago, held Feb. 25.

THE MAGAZINE

Candy Industry Magazine

March 2014 Cover

March 2014

The March issue features a look at how ICAM is embracing the next generation and more chocolate and wine pairings!
Table Of Contents Subscribe

Easter Sales

How do you expect Easter sales to be this year?
View Results Poll Archive

Candy Industry Store

M:\General Shared\__AEC Store Katie Z\AEC Store\Images\Candy Industry\natural-food-flavors-colora.gif
Natural Food Flavors and Colorants

Although many foods are appealing, and even perceived as natural, in spite of containing synthetic additives, consumer increasingly prefer food products which are fully natural.

More Products

Candy Industry's Kettle Awards

Kettle Awards

Since 1946, Candy Industry magazine has recognized leaders in the U.S. confectionery industry with the highest recognition possible, the Kettle Award. The distinguished recipients have captured this most coveted award by not only excelling within their companies, but by contributing to the greater good of the industry. It’s virtually a who’s who of past and present professionals who have left their mark as confectioners and business mavens. Learn more about the voting process as well as the annual Kettle Awards Ceremony by visiting our Kettle Awards Website

Clear Seas Research

Clear SeasWith access to over one million professionals and more than 60 industry-specific publications,Clear Seas Research offers relevant insights from those who know your industry best. Let us customize a market research solution that exceeds your marketing goals.

STAY CONNECTED

fb40   twitter 40    youtube40    linked