The Effect of Packaging Material on Consumer Evaluation and Choice: A Comparison Between Glass and Tetra-Pak in the Olive Oil Sector

The Effect of Packaging Material on Consumer Evaluation and Choice: A Comparison Between Glass and Tetra-Pak in the Olive Oil Sector

Beatrice Luceri (University of Parma, Italy), Donata Tania Vergura (University of Parma, Italy) and Cristina Zerbini (University of Parma, Italy)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-1419-1.ch012

Abstract

Packaging is the last marketing communication tool a company can use before the purchase decision is made. It creates positive or negative brand associations and informs consumers about the product category, personality, and quality. This chapter explains the role of packaging material in influencing the product evaluation process. Specifically, a between-subjects experimental design was conducted to investigate if the product quality judgment and the purchase intention towards extra virgin olive oil differ between tetra-pak and glass bottle. Results showed attitude towards the product, pack and product evaluation, and perceived quality and risk was better in the case of the glass package compared to the tetra-pak. Similarly, the willingness to buy and pay was higher in the case of the glass package compared to the tetra-pak one.
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Introduction

In today’s increasingly competitive marketplace, packaging represents one of the most important factors in the buying decision process. From the consumers’ perspective, it is an important source of information at the point of sale. Its overall features can underline the quality and the uniqueness of the product and, then, influence the purchasing decisions (Silayoi and Speece, 2007; Stewart, 2004). As a consequence, from the manufacturers’ standpoint packaging becomes an essential part of the selling strategy, providing the last opportunity to persuade possible buyers before brand selection (e.g., McDaniel and Baker, 1977; Prendergast and Pitt, 1996; Rettie and Brewer, 2000; Silayoi and Speece, 2004).

Starting from these evidences, some authors have defined the packaging as an intrinsic property of the product and the brand, which influences brand recognition, creates positive or negative brand associations and informs consumers about the product category, personality and quality (e.g., Evans and Berman, 1992; Keller, 2009; Orth and Malkewitz, 2008; Silayoi and Speece, 2007). In this perspective, packaging assumes a role similar to other marketing tools, becoming a vehicle for communication and branding (Rettie and Brewer, 2000). This makes choices on the communication elements of the package strategic marketing and positioning decisions. With this premise in mind, a clear understanding of the impact of the package elements is crucial to enhance point of purchase communication and support the selling strategy (Vergura and Luceri, 2018).

A central stream within the marketing research concerns the impact of visual and verbal elements of packaging in the product selection process. Visual elements include colour, shape, material, size and graphics, while verbal elements include information like ingredients, nutritional value, and country of origin. Several authors found that both visual and verbal elements could have a powerful effect on consumers’ responses to a product and can influence the purchasing decision (e.g., Andrews et al., 2013; Aschemann-Witzel and Hamm, 2010; Faulkner et al., 2014; Garretson & Burton, 2000; Gorton et al., 2010; Hoegg and Alba, 2011; Hogg et al., 2010; Liaukonyte et al., 2013; Raghubir and Greenleaf, 2006; Saba et al., 2010; Schoormans and Robben, 1997; Silayoi and Speece, 2004; Tan and Tan, 2007; Underwood et al., 2001; Underwood and Klein, 2002; Wansink and Chandon, 2006).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Packaging Cues: Visual (aesthetic) and verbal components of packaging which act as element of communication in the market-place.

Sustainable Packaging: A package that is designed to be effective and safe to human health or ecosystems, made efficiently with renewable energy, and once used, is recycled or reused efficiently to provide valuable resources for subsequent generations.

Consumer Decision Making Process: The psychological process implemented by consumers before, during, and after the purchase of a good or service.

Willingness to pay: The maximum amounts consumers consider suitable for purchasing the product.

Experimental Design: A research design which allows the researcher to manipulate the independent variables and observe the reactions caused by such changes.

Attitude: The favourable or unfavourable evaluation or appraisal a person has of the object under investigation (a behaviour, an object, a situation, etc.).

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