How packaging characteristics change the perception of product net weight

Wang, Zhonglun
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The research is aiming at finding how packaging characteristics affect the perceived product net weight. Packaging is the interface that connect customers and products, and perceived weight is one of the defining factors at the point of purchasing. Perceived weight also influences consumption rate of the product, which may bring opportunity to food manufacturers to make their product more appealing to the target customers, it might also help to increase sales revenue, reduce food waste and combat climate change.

Three hypotheses were tested, (1) whether people perceive rigid packaging to contain more product than non-rigid packaging; (2) whether people perceive multi-pack packaging to contain more product than single-pack packaging; and (3) whether people with lower overall muscle strength tend to estimate products heavier.

Five types of tomato sauce packaging and five types of milk packaging were selected in the study, 39 people participated in the study, in addition, data from 3 participants were dropped due to data loss and equipment failure.

The result showed that the net weight of multi-pack packaging milk is perceived to be heavier than single-pack packaging milk, however, there is no perceived weight difference in the case of tomato sauce. The result also showed that the net weight of rigid packaging tomato sauce is perceived to be heavier than non-rigid packaging tomato sauce, while there is no perceived weight difference in the case of milk. And people with less muscle strength didn’t perceived product weight to be heavier than people with more muscle strength.

Mixed effect was also investigated and consisted result was shown, as milk and tomato sauce with non-rigid multi-packs (NM) were perceived to have similar net weight with rigid single-packs (RS), while non-rigid single-packs(NS) were perceived to contain less product than non-rigid multi-packs (NM) and rigid single-packs (NM=RS>NS).

The study provides a general direction for researchers and food manufactures to investigate deeper into the question that how packaging characteristics influence people’s weight perception. The application of the studies could potentially be lucrative for food manufacturers, retailers in the meantime reduce food waste.