A packaging experiment for “Chocolate & Love” shows that even fine grained layout changes have an impact on choice. Results show that the best layout had twice the preference of the worst. Actual results are reproduced below with kind permission of Richard O’Connor of Chocolate & Love.
Chocolate & Love prides itself on producing superior chocolate. As a new entrant growing into a crowded market, they faced the classic packaging problem – what to put on the box that will give it the best chance of being sold?

A working packaging was in place, but there was still uncertainty around:

  • The best placement of the brand.
  • The importance of the origin.
  • Whether “Fair Trade” should be included on the packaging.
  • How the claim of “organic” influences choice.
  • Whether the product be “80% Panama” or “Panama 80%”

The True Size of the Problem

Consider for a second how you yourself would solve this problem. Looking through some of the combinations below, there are over 60 possible combinations, its not easy to see which is the best option.

choc_combsIn fact looking at each one in turn and trying to pick the best one is an impossible task. It is also an unrealistic exercise to imagine how a customer, who only ever sees one version, would choose.

Polling all combinations in turn would be possible, if not exceedingly expensive, and the best overall package could be found. However, it would not explain how those choices were made.

The Method

The combinations of layouts were provided to SurveyEngine which then generated a short online experiment. Data was collected from respondents and the data was modelled to understand how choices were made.

The Results

The interactive model below shows that people are choosing primarily on the “Organic” claim and a logical layout. The claim of “Swiss” origin was either irrelevant or, at worst, negatively distracting.

The numbers in the chart are “Utils” which are the natural logarithm of the marginal odds. Basically, features with higher numbers have a bigger influence on choice.

Which one is Best and by how much?

With some mathematical manipulation the actual proportions of choice can be calculated

The best is preferred 67% over the worst. Or simply the best is preferred twice as much.

If you want to see the best predicted version – it is the packaging that was finally used (at the top of the page). Or visit chocolateandlove.com