Consumers’ perception of food can vary with the brand name, according to a German study.

Researchers from Munich based ASAP (Association for Sensory Analysis and Product Development), a member of the European Sensory Network, gave subjects  12 of the leading ice-cream products on the German market: first in a blind test, where the subjects were not informed about the brands, and then a second time with the consumers being provided with the brand names.

“The judgements in the two tests differed quite dramatically”, said study leader Sven Henneberg. “In the second run some of the best-known brands achieved the best results, even though those same brands had received mediocre scores on the blind taste test.”

It did not necessarily mean that brand counts more than taste. “This would be a short-sighted conclusion,” he said. “If a producer only relies on the strength of his brand recognition and takes his eye off the quality of his product he will soon find himself loosing out in the race for consumer loyalty. It won’t take long for the consumers to see through this situation, and there will be a continuing gradual decline in product sales.”