Food packaging design for older consumers.
This research centres on product package design related to older people's emotional
needs. In particular, knowledge concerning the design of packages for transgenerational use
linked to background social data has been elicited. The most distinctive accomplishment has
been an exploration of the visual appeal of packaging design in relation to age, gender,
education and emotional preference of older consumers. Findings are primarily related to
the interaction older people in the UK with selected aspects of package design.
Three areas of research have been brought together in this thesis: packaging design
and multiple choice, emotional/psychological preference for packaging design characteristics
and colour appeal associated ..w ith food character in packaging design. Investigations into
the 'third age' and classifications beyond utilised a large sample from the 'Thousand Elders'
and a range of packaging designs for selected food items.
The significant findings indicate that familiarity and emotional response to packaging
designs are key determinants in older consumers' intentions to purchase. Design relating to
overall perception or technical cognition are shown to correlate with age related emotional
feelings of arousal. Specific findings on such correlations are described in detail. A further
'emotional appeal' was found with colour; for example, green, yellow or bright tones were
the most popular colour hue and value associated with varied qualities for food packaging
design for specific age groups.
Differences between ages, gender and education levels (hypothesised variables linked to
design choices) are also analysed and correlated; for example, gender and age rather than
educational level combinations appeared to significantly influence choice. Males aged
between 55 and 64 relied on their experience of functional aspects for packaging design
when considering a purchase. Females in the older age group of 65-74 were more emotional
and considered visual appeal in a more personal way. However, few distinguishable
psychological effects were noted for the over 75 year olds in their relationship with design.
Personal characteristics of older people and their choice are presented in a combination of
qualitative interpretation and numeric analysis.
Key findings relate to the specific nature of older consumers behaviour in their engagement
with packaging design.