A juicy orange makes for a tastier juice: The neglected role of visual material perception in packaging design

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Food appearance sets intentions and expectations. When designing packaged food much attention is devoted to packaging elements like color and shape, but less to the characteristics of the images used. To our awareness, no study has yet investigated how the appearance of the food shown on the package affects consumers’ preferences. Often, orange juice packages depict an orange. Juiciness being one of the most important parameters to assess oranges’ quality, we hypothesized that an orange with a juicier appearance on the package would improve the overall evaluation of the juice. Using image cues found to trigger juiciness perception of oranges depicted in 17th century paintings, we designed four orange juice packages by manipulating the highlights on the pulp (present vs. absent) and the state of the orange (unpeeled vs. peeled). In an online experiment, 400 participants, each assigned to one condition, rated expected naturalness, healthiness, quality, sweetness and tastiness of the juice, package attractiveness and willingness to buy. Finally, they rated juiciness of the orange for all four images. A one-way ANOVA showed a significant effect of the highlights on juiciness. A MANOVA showed that the presence of highlights, both in isolation and in interaction with the peeled side, also significantly increased expected quality and tastiness of the juice. The present study shows the importance of material perception and food texture appearance in the imagery of food packaging. We suggest that knowledge from vision science on image features and material perception should be integrated into the process of packaging design.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages5
JournalFood Quality and Preference
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • packaging design
  • Imagery
  • Material perception
  • Juiciness


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