Interesting report of two experiments showing how a priori or a posteriori knowledge of what one consumes may affect the overall sensory experience and preference.
There is a large body of literature showing that a priori knowledge creates expectations about what we think the product will taste like and hence how we will like it. When the product is tasted with the information, we try to match our expectations by accepting more a product that might not have been up to our expectations. Of course everything happens unconsciously.
Marketing researcher Keith Wilcox and colleagues at Babson College in Wellesley, Mass., conducted a series of experiments showing that a little information can have the opposite of the desired effect if it is delivered after a taste test instead of before. In a nutshell, here’s what the study, to be published in the Journal of Consumer Research, says:
Tell someone the chocolate they are about to taste came from Switzerland, and sure enough, they will like it better than the chocolate from China. Tell that same person where the chocolate came from just after they’ve tasted it, and they will swear the stuff from China tastes better.
Ditto for wine.
And 64 customers at a Boston liquor store said they preferred wine from India, not known for its great vineyards, to wine that purportedly came from Italy, which produces some very fine wines indeed — though, again, they were not told the origin of either until they had sampled it.