It has been shown that measuring consumer emotional response to products is more discriminating than simply measuring liking and may provide deeper insights into consumer food choice decisions [Ng et al. 2013]. However, little is known regarding the effect of consumption context on emotional response. Dorado et al. [Dorado et al. 2016] indicated that merely imagining the context of consumption impacts emotional response to beer. This study aimed to determine the effects of context on product related emotions, liking and choice behaviour in two separate experiments.
In the first experiment 100 regular beer consumers evaluated overall liking and emotional response to two beers (lager and ale) on line scales using a beer-specific emotion lexicon [Eaton., 2015] under three different context conditions: (1) a standard sensory testing facility, (2) a natural consumption environment for beer (bar) and (3) an evoked context using a written description, photos and sound recordings of the same bar in context 2. In the second experiment the relative reproducibility of emotional response to beer over time in a controlled setting (CLT) and a natural consumption environment (bar) was studied at three different stages of consumption on two different occasions (2 replicates).
The results of experiment 1 revealed strong differences between the three contexts in terms of product differentiation. Emotional response showed greater discrimination between products than hedonic measures. Agglomerative Hierarchical Cluster Analysis revealed three consumer clusters that differed in their degree of sensitivity to context in terms of emotional response and choice behaviour. The results from experiment 2 revealed the stability of emotional response and liking over time in a CLT and natural consumption environment respectively. The value of understanding the impact of context on emotional measures for designing effective consumer research in terms of the reliability and validity of the measures will be discussed.