Study finds plain food packs may increase consumption

A Franco-Belgian investigation has found the introduction of plain packaging for unhealthy foods may have undesired results.

The academic team conducted three studies on a total of 342 students using both plain and regular marked bags of a popular chocolate snack. The results are published in the April 2016 edition of the journal Food Quality and Preference.

The first study examined the impact of plain packaging on purchasing activity. This mirrored research into the impact of plain packaging for cigarettes in Australia, showing plain packs weakened buyer’s perception of the brand, and diminished brand loyalty.

The second and third surveys looked at consumption of the confectionary in plain packs while watching a video; comparing them to standard packs, and then to both standard packs and special low-fat labelled packaging.

A report in World Trademark Review shows that in the second study male participants ate more from the plain packs. In the subsequent component low-fat packaging was found to increase consumption by female participants.

The authors claim their work is the first to actually investigate the impact of plain packaging on the consumption of food. Given the results they also call for more research to fully understand the phenomenon.

This article comes from Food Contact World, which provides exclusive news and analysis on developments in digital print trends, markets, and technologies.