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Tasting as a projective technique

Simone Pettigrew (UWA Business School, University of Western Australia, Crawley, Australia)
Stephen Charters (Reims Management School, Reims, France)

Qualitative Market Research

ISSN: 1352-2752

Article publication date: 13 June 2008




The purpose of this paper is to investigate the benefits of tasting as a projective technique (PT) in explicating consumers' thoughts and feelings towards food and beverage products.


In total, ten focus groups were conducted with 35 consumers, 14 wine producers, and 13 mediators. The mediator category included those involved in marketing, wholesaling, retailing, and judging wine. Participants in each focus group were given the same four wines to taste. Initially they were invited to discuss their views on wine quality. The participants were then presented with the wines and asked to discuss their responses to them, particularly their perceptions of the quality of the wines.


The primary findings related to: the changes in apparent certainty levels amongst professionals and high‐involvement informants; exposure of real and contradictory preferences; role of cognitive, affective, and sensory responses to wine; and interpretation of the language of tasting.

Research limitations/implications

Tasting as a PT has the potential to generate additional and insightful data that can increase our appreciation of the complexities involved in consumption experiences. In particular, it can reveal the uncertainty that can affect consumers' product evaluations and explicate the multiple evaluation pathways that can be used by consumers of food and beverage products.


The paper is of value in showing that the ability of PTs to yield both stated and actual preferences provides insight into the salient external factors that impact on consumption decisions and gives an indication of where marketers could most effectively focus their product development and promotional attention.



Pettigrew, S. and Charters, S. (2008), "Tasting as a projective technique", Qualitative Market Research, Vol. 11 No. 3, pp. 331-343.



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Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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