Product preferences: Which counts for more - brand name or taste?

Consumers judge foods differently when they are left solely to their taste impressions than when they are also given the brand name of the product.

So concludes a study of ice cream conducted by the German  ESN member ASAP (Association for Sensory Analysis and Product Development) in Munich. ASAP is a subsidiary of SAM Sensory and Marketing International AG, Switzerland.

The researchers presented their subjects with 12 of the leading ice-cream products on the German market: first in a blind test, where the subjects were not informed about the brands, and then a second time with the consumers being provided with the brand names.

"The judgements in the two tests differed quite dramatically", states study leader Sven Henneberg. "In the second run some of the best-known brands achieved the best results, even though those same brands had received mediocre scores on the blind taste test." Does this mean that the brand counts more than taste?

"This would be a short-sighted conclusion,"  Henneberg states. "If a producer only relies on the strength of his brand recognition and takes his eye off  the quality of his product he will soon find himself loosing out in the race for consumer loyalty. It won't take long for the consumers to see through this situation, and there will be a continuing gradual decline in product sales."


ASAP GmbH, Munich, Germany

Sven Henneberg

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