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      Assessing the Role of Shape and Label in the Misleading Packaging of Food Imitating Products: From Empirical Evidence to Policy Recommendation


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          Food imitating products are chemical consumer items used frequently in the household for cleaning and personal hygiene (e.g., bleach, soap, and shampoo), which resemble food products. Their containers replicate elements of food package design such as possessing a shape close in style to drinking product containers or bearing labels that depict colorful fruits. In marketing, these incongruent forms are designed to increase the appeal of functional products, leading to chemical consumer product embellishment. However, due to the resulting visual ambiguity, food imitating products may expose consumers to the risk of being poisoned from ingestion. Thus, from a public health perspective, food imitating products are considered dangerous chemical products that should not be sold, and may merit being recalled for the safety of consumers. To help policymakers address the hazardous presence of food imitating products, the purpose of this article is to identify the specific design features that generate most ambiguity for the consumer, and therefore increase the likelihood of confusion with foodstuffs. Among the visual elements of food packaging, the two most important features (shape and label) are manipulated in a series of three lab studies combining six Implicit Association Tests (IATs) and two explicit measures on products' drinkability and safety. IATs were administered to assess consumers' implicit association of liquid products with tastiness in a within-subject design in which the participants ( N = 122) were presented with two kinds of food imitating products with a drink shape or drink label compared with drinks (experiential products with congruent form) and classic chemical products (hygiene products) (functional products with congruent form). Results show that chemical consumer products with incongruent drink shapes (but not drink labels) as an element of food package design are both implicitly associated with tastiness and explicitly judged as safe and drinkable. These results require confirmation in other studies involving different shapes and labels. Notwithstanding, due to the misleading effect of this ambiguity, public health authorities are thus well advised to focus their market surveillance on chemical products emulating a food or drink shape.

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          Most cited references30

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          Measuring individual differences in implicit cognition: the implicit association test.

          An implicit association test (IAT) measures differential association of 2 target concepts with an attribute. The 2 concepts appear in a 2-choice task (2-choice task (e.g., flower vs. insect names), and the attribute in a 2nd task (e.g., pleasant vs. unpleasant words for an evaluation attribute). When instructions oblige highly associated categories (e.g., flower + pleasant) to share a response key, performance is faster than when less associated categories (e.g., insect & pleasant) share a key. This performance difference implicitly measures differential association of the 2 concepts with the attribute. In 3 experiments, the IAT was sensitive to (a) near-universal evaluative differences (e.g., flower vs. insect), (b) expected individual differences in evaluative associations (Japanese + pleasant vs. Korean + pleasant for Japanese vs. Korean subjects), and (c) consciously disavowed evaluative differences (Black + pleasant vs. White + pleasant for self-described unprejudiced White subjects).
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            Understanding and using the implicit association test: I. An improved scoring algorithm.

            In reporting Implicit Association Test (IAT) results, researchers have most often used scoring conventions described in the first publication of the IAT (A.G. Greenwald, D.E. McGhee, & J.L.K. Schwartz, 1998). Demonstration IATs available on the Internet have produced large data sets that were used in the current article to evaluate alternative scoring procedures. Candidate new algorithms were examined in terms of their (a) correlations with parallel self-report measures, (b) resistance to an artifact associated with speed of responding, (c) internal consistency, (d) sensitivity to known influences on IAT measures, and (e) resistance to known procedural influences. The best-performing measure incorporates data from the IAT's practice trials, uses a metric that is calibrated by each respondent's latency variability, and includes a latency penalty for errors. This new algorithm strongly outperforms the earlier (conventional) procedure.
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              Measuring the hedonic and utilitarian sources of consumer attitudes


                Author and article information

                Front Psychol
                Front Psychol
                Front. Psychol.
                Frontiers in Psychology
                Frontiers Media S.A.
                31 March 2016
                : 7
                : 450
                [1] 1Psychology, London School of Economics and Political Science London, UK
                [2] 2Faculty of Social Sciences—Department of Social and Economic Administration, University of Rennes 2 Upper Brittany Rennes, France
                [3] 3Cognitive Psychology Laboratory, Fédération de Recherche 3C, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, LPC UMR 7290, Aix Marseille Université Marseille, France
                [4] 4Graduate School of Management, Center for Research in Economics and Management, UMR Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique 6211, University of Rennes 1 Rennes, France
                Author notes

                Edited by: Kai Ruggeri, University of Cambridge, UK

                Reviewed by: Wing-Yee Cheung, University of Southampton, UK; Suzanna Elizabeth Forwood, Anglia Ruskin University, UK

                *Correspondence: Frédéric Basso f.basso@ 123456lse.ac.uk

                This article was submitted to Personality and Social Psychology, a section of the journal Frontiers in Psychology

                Copyright © 2016 Basso, Bouillé, Le Goff, Robert-Demontrond and Oullier.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

                : 10 July 2015
                : 14 March 2016
                Page count
                Figures: 4, Tables: 5, Equations: 0, References: 65, Pages: 13, Words: 9904
                Original Research

                Clinical Psychology & Psychiatry
                category ambiguity,chemical consumer products,food package,implicit association test (iat),health policy,poison look-alikes


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