Applying appeal ratings and CATA for making word choices in messaging about food technology

Published:
Oct 6, 2017

Food Quality and Preference, Volume 62, December 2017, Pages 237-245
The article is available here at a cost.

Abstract: A. Grygorczyk, A. Jenkins, K. Deyman, A. J. Bowen and J. Turecek. Consumers are increasingly interested in the practices surrounding food production. Transparency has been identified as a key component of consumer trust building to earn social license for innovations in plant biotechnology. However, the increasing complexity of these technologies has made clear, that concise communication between experts and the public is a challenge. The present research applies appeal ratings and CATA (Check-all that-apply), supplemented with in-person interviews to verify comprehension, in order to refine wording around explanations of plant breeding tools. Appeal ratings and CATA were able to successfully distinguish preferred phrasings to improve the wording around food production processes. Based on the outcomes, recommendations are made to avoid technical jargon and plant anthropomorphisms, add back familiarity (for example with images of people or familiar processes) and address the fear of unintended consequences. This research is the first attempt to use appeal ratings and CATA to fine-tune message wording and demonstrates the utility of the protocol for use by consumer and sensory researchers to assist marketing teams with developing optimal product taglines or to aid PR and communications groups within their organizations.