New research from Package InSight at Clemson University has highlighted the decisive impact on customers of foils and laminates on packaging. The study, titled ‘Brand impact delivered through packaging’, presents compelling proof of consumers’ preference for luxury chocolate packs that have been foiled or laminated.

Undertaken at Clemson University’s CUshop™ Consumer Experience Laboratory, the study examined the on-shelf impact of metallic materials by fitting 70 participants – or “shoppers” – with state-of-the-art eye-tracking glasses that recorded their eye movements while they selected products from a shelf. From this, researchers were able to analyse the “nonconscious” signals that informed participants’ behaviour and purchasing decisions.

“We are very excited to announce the results of this study, which we have made fully available in our latest white paper,” says Richard Burhouse, Commercial Director at API, the study’s sponsor. “Package InSight’s academic rigor and methodology have enabled us to offer brand owners and designers valuable new insights into consumer preferences when purchasing premium chocolate – an increasingly crowded and competitive market.”

The study found that, for both Belgian and Swiss luxury chocolates, participants’ gazes fixated significantly more often – and for significantly longer periods – on foiled and laminated versions of the packs than on versions without metallic treatment. More importantly, participants were more likely to select and “purchase” the metallised packs than their identical but un-metallised counterparts.

A further interview segment of the study then shone light on why participants favoured the foiled and laminated packs, with a consensus emerging that these treatments added a premium feel to the chocolate that was suggestive of higher quality products. Responses included, “The foil-stamped version looks more elegant and expressive”, and “It gives it a more premium look and shows their attention to detail.”

“The study provides quantitative data on the impact of foils in delivering brand and shelf impact,” comments Richard. “It is clear from the results that, applied intelligently, foil can significantly boost the chances of luxury chocolate products in a retail store environment – a finding that could have a great impact on the future of luxury packaging.”

The API ‘Brand impact delivered through packaging’ white paper is available to download at


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