Cognitive and affective effects of storytelling related to the production process of food products
Food products are increasingly positioned by parameters that are related to the production process. In addition to labeling products as organic or local, many products are marketed by telling stories about the origins and production process – where the product comes from, facts about the terroir, raising of animals, details about feed or growing process, origins of ingredients used, roots in traditional and artisanal food production, ethical claims about animal welfare and fair trade. Such parameters have mostly been discussed as extensions of the classical aspects of perceived food quality (taste, health, convenience), and their effects on purchase intentions and purchases have often been analyzed by measuring the inferences consumers make from such information with regard to perceived product quality. However, recent research suggests that this cognitive mediation of the effects of storytelling in the food area may be only half of the story. In addition, such information on food products may also also elicit spontaneous (positive) affect in the consumer mind, leading to a positive impact on purchase intentions that is not cognitively mediated. To the extent that such intentions actually lead to purchases, it raises the question how consumer experience with the product lives up to expectations that consist of both cognitive and affective components. This presentation will a) demonstrate the parallel existence of cognitively mediated and spontaneous affective effects of storytelling on purchase intentions, b) discuss new ways of measuring both cognitive and affective components, and c) discus the theoretical implications in terms of theories of consumer quality perception, consumer satisfaction and the Food Kansei approach.
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International Food Marketing Research Symposium, 2013