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Seeing sweet and choosing sour: Compensatory effects of typeface on consumers’ choice behavior

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The present research included two field studies investigating, firstly, the effects of round and angular typefaces on taste expectations and, secondly, how such expectations may have downstream effects on naturalistic consumer choice. A taste experiment conducted at a science festival asked participants (N = 125) to rate the expected and actual sweetness and sourness of beer served from plastic cups labelled with either angular or round typeface. Effects of typeface were found on both taste expectations and perceived taste, but in opposite directions; participants rated the expected sourness of a beer as higher in the round (vs. angular) typeface condition, whereas they rated perceived sourness as lower in the round compared to the angular typeface condition. A follow-up field study conducted at a beer bar tested whether different typefaces on a beer board would affect actual beer choices. Data consisted of beer transactions (N = 1,952) and included the monetary amount, and the specific style, and size of beer purchased. The results showed that average transaction amount was lower in the round (vs. angular) typeface condition, and that customers purchased more sour beer options in this condition. These findings support a crossmodal compensation account, and suggest that round typefaces could increase choices of contrasting sour products. Hence, marketers may want to consider how typefaces can either enhance or diminish certain tastes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103964
JournalFood Quality and Preference
Number of pages5
Publication statusPublished - 2020

    Research areas

  • Consumer choice, Crossmodal compensation, Crossmodal correspondences, Field study, Taste, Typeface, Typography

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