July 15, 2011
Does Chinese Chocolate Taste Better Than Swiss? Depends On When You Find Out
When consumers taste a chocolate bar they think is made in Switzerland, they'll prefer it over one supposedly made in China, according to new study in the Journal of Consumer Research. But if you tell them where it's from after they taste the candy, they'll prefer the Chinese chocolate.
"Imagine being at a wine tasting and finding out that a wine is expensive after tasting it," write authors Keith Wilcox, Anne L. Roggeveen, and Dhruv Grewal (all Babson College). "Will learning the price afterwards affect your evaluation differently compared to if you had learned the price beforehand?"
The authors found similar results when they told the participants that the chocolate was expensive versus inexpensive. The students enjoyed the same chocolate less when they were told it was expensive after sampling.
Finally, the authors conducted a study in a Boston-area liquor store. Customers were told the store was conducting a blind taste test of a new wine. After tasting, half the customers were told the wine was from Italy; the remaining customers were told it was from India, a region not known for producing fine wines. "As in previous studies, people liked the wine more when they were told it was from India after sampling compared to when they were told it was from Italy," the authors write. And nearly twice as many people opted to take a $5 coupon for the wine (instead of a gift of similar value) when they were told it was from India.
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