As human life expectancy increases, the potential for nutraceutical products expands. Economic theory and sensory science were integrated to determine (1) consumer acceptance of potential health statements about a juice blend and (2) the relative satisfaction consumers derived from sensory and nutraceutical characteristics of a juice blend. Four nonhypothetical experimental auction sessions with 11–12 consumers/session were held (n = 47) to elicit willingness-to-pay (WTP) for an optimized juice blend (87% Concord grape and 13% blackberry). Participants in two sessions tasted the product first and then received a potential health statement about the juice blend regarding positive benefits of anthocyanins before the third round (vice versa for the other two sessions). The WTP for the juice blend was higher when subjects tasted the product first and then received the potential health statement, which indicated a contrast effect caused by treatment order. Agreement with the potential health statement was not correlated to WTP. Nutraceutical product launch should be accompanied with in-store taste sessions to introduce consumers to product sensory properties.
Consumers' willingness-to-pay for nutraceuticals can be assessed through nonhypothetical experimental auctions. Nonhypothetical value elicitation methods use real money and products to advantageously eliminate hypothetical bias. Experimental auctions allow product attributes such as nutraceutical status to be assessed along with sensory characteristics; hence, auctions can more easily capture all product aspects that contribute to consumer liking. Understanding how consumers value all attributes can provide crucial information about a product's marketplace sustainability.