The study, Influence of Chewing Gum Packaging Design on Consumer Expectation and Willingness to Buy, found that consumers associated gum packaging formats with functional, sensory and textural attributes, but were mostly influenced by colour.
The researchers surveyed 390 people from Zaragoza, Spain, who were around age 17. They chose this age as earlier studies had indicated that 78.3% of Spaniards between the ages of 16 and 25 consume chewing gum.
The present study in fact found this number to be higher. It said 92.4% of Spanish youth consume chewing gum nearly every day or occasionally.
According to the study, taste and flavour attributes were almost entirely determined by colour.
Respondents were most willing to buy packs in warm colours that gave perceptions of acid, fruity and sweet flavours.
Cool colours were also fairly popular and were thought to offer gum that was fresh and long-lasting.
Dark colours or greys were shunned as containing denser and heavier chewing gum.
In terms of format, slim packs proved the most popular with respondents and were perceived as offering better functionality, including ease to open.
Blister packs were also highly regarded, but mainly due to the protection the packs were perceived to offer.
Pill packs were the least popular as they were considered difficult to open.
Overall, respondents preferred slim gum packs in warm colours as these packs were seen as daring and innovative.
The researchers said that the study was important for chewing gum as consumers tended to make more impulse buys for these products than others.
Participants were asked to evaluate nine images of chewing gum packets. The designs were in three different colours: greys, cool, and warm and included three different formats: pill packs, slim pack and blister pack.
No brand names were used. “The fictitious brand ‘Chewing Gum’ was used in all the images,” said the report.
The study is due to be published in the academic journal Food Quality and Preference.