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Dark vs. light drinks: The influence of visual appearance on the consumer’s experience of beer

Reinoso-Carvalho, Felipe, Dakduk, Silvana, Wagemans, Johan, Spence, Charles
Food quality and preference 2019 v.74 pp. 21-29
appearance (quality), beers, flavor, visual perception, willingness to pay
We report evidence concerning how the visual appearance of a drink (dark vs. light pale/amber beer) can influence the consumer’s tasting experience. Two experiments were designed to study the effect of visual appearance on people’s hedonic and sensory judgments of beer. Importantly, the beers were indistinguishable in terms of their flavor when tasted in the absence of visual cues.Participants rated the same beer (pale or dark, depending in which group they were assigned) under blind conditions as having more body than when tasted under sighted condition (regardless of whether it was pale or dark; see Experiment 1).When the participants evaluated the expectations and tasting experience of the two different beers under sighted conditions (pale vs. dark), after tasting, those who preferred pale beers, rated the darker beer as tasting sweeter than those who usually prefer other types of beers, such as dark ones (see Experiment 2). Prior tasting, when asked which beer they thought was the most expensive, the majority of the participants chose the darker beer. Furthermore, after tasting both beers, participants reported being willing to pay up to 6% more on average for the darker beer as compared to the pale one.