The effect of reduced-fat labelling on chocolate expectations

J. E. Norton*, P. J. Fryer, J. A. Parkinson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)


Increasing global obesity has fuelled an increase in the production of foods that are lower in fat, sugar or calories. Understanding the consumer, particularly their expectations towards reduced-fat foods, is key when designing and marketing such products. The aim of the current study was to explore the relationship between chocolate labelling and expectations. Two identical standard chocolates were labelled as 'Milk Chocolate' and 'Reduced-fat Milk Chocolate'. Labelling a chocolate as 'reduced-fat' had a significant negative effect on ratings of expected liking, but did not affect ratings of actual liking, or ratings of sensory attributes. Exploratory analysis of the relationship between individual differences (including gender, age, BMI and DEBQ subscales) and expectations yielded no significant results. However, ratings of actual liking for both labelling conditions did correlate with intention to buy the product, and the price participants would be willing to pay for it. Anticipated consumption amount showed a tighter relationship with expectations for 'Reduced-fat Milk Chocolate'. The results indicate that expectations are critical in consumer acceptance of reduced-fat products. If a reduced-fat chocolate can be produced with matched sensory attributes, and consumers can be encouraged to purchase the product, actual liking should not be affected by the knowledge that the product is reduced in fat.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)101-105
Number of pages5
JournalFood Quality and Preference
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2013


  • Chocolate
  • Consumption amount
  • Expectations
  • Liking
  • Sensory attributes
  • Willingness-to-pay

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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