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Study pegs consumer perceptions of chocolate


July 15, 2011
By Bakers Journal

July 15, 2011, Chicago – When consumers taste a chocolate bar they think is made in Switzerland, they’ll prefer it over one supposedly made in China, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

But, the study found, if you tell consumers where the chocolate is from after they taste it, they’ll prefer the Chinese chocolate.

Participants were given unbranded squares of Trader Joe’s chocolates to taste. Half of the participants were told the chocolate was made in Switzerland; the remaining students were told the chocolate was made in China. But some were told this information before eating the chocolate and some were told afterwards.

“When they were given the country of origin before tasting, the students liked the chocolate more when they were told it was from Switzerland,” the researchers wrote. “This was expected because Switzerland has a strong reputation for chocolate whereas China does not. Surprisingly, when they were given the country of origin after sampling, the students that were told the chocolate was from Switzerland liked it less than those told it was from China.” 


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The authors found similar results when they told the participants that the chocolate was expensive versus inexpensive. Participants enjoyed the same chocolate less when they were told it was expensive after sampling.