Froot Loops: Brand Deception or Consumer Perception?

There are several sad truths we must accept as we transition into adulthood.  No Santa.  No Tooth Fairy.  And different colored Froot Loops are all the same flavor – which, by the way, does not come from real fruit.  They’re called FROOT Loops for that reason apparently.  In case you missed it, this story was everywhere in late January.

As a researcher, I found the media coverage and consumer outcry fascinating in terms of a brand’s power of suggestion.  Not only did the colors of the product formulation convince some consumers that each delightful ring of sugary goodness was a different flavor, but the name also conveyed that the flavoring came from fruit.  Some unhappy consumers reported feeling duped and betrayed.

To me, the Froot Loop fracas pointed out some additional areas that brand owners may want to explore when launching new product formulations or names.  What DO colors evoke in terms of flavor profiles for consumers?  What colors are more in line with the anticipated taste experience consumers expect, and how might this affect product acceptance and subsequent success?

From a naming perspective, what are the expectations about ingredients that the name conveys? How emotionally connected to those expectations are consumers, and will a misleading name negatively affect the brand?

Froot Loops have given us food for thought when it comes to playing with people’s perceptions, emotions and expectations.