Although consumers will typically view a product more positively when favorable information is presented before sampling, the opposite might be true if that same information was presented after sampling the product.
In one experiment, a group of participants was given information prior to sampling the chocolate, and another group received that information after tasting the chocolate.
The experiment showed that: 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. But here’s the punch line: none of the chocolate came from Switzerland or China. It came from another country, and the same chocolate was used in all the experiments.
If they knew the chocolate was from Switzerland before tasting it, they liked it better than the chocolate from China, even though it was exactly the same candy. But if they were told the origin just after tasting the chocolate, they preferred the dark stuff from China over the chocolate from Switzerland, even though it was really the same stuff.
The participants who tasted the chocolate before they knew where it came from probably really thought both pieces were about the same. But when they learned one came from China, they would have expected it to taste inferior to the famous stuff from Switzerland, and it was much better than they would have expected it to be. Thus they judged the “Chinese” chocolate tastier, even though it was the same stuff.
Summing-up the tasting experience
Often it’s not the information itself that makes the biggest difference but rather small changes to the context in which information is presented. A little information can have the opposite of the desired effect if it is delivered after a taste test instead of before.