The Importance of Taste in Experimental Auctions: Consumers’ Valuation of Calorie and Sweetener Labeling of Soft Drinks
Lewis, K. E., C. Grebitus, and R. Nayga.  2016.  Agricultural Economics, 47:47-57.

A majority of purchases that consumers make are classified as repeat purchases. One of the main reasons why consumers make repeat food purchases is the food's taste. Therefore, we examined the importance of including taste testing in nonhypothetical experimental auctions. Specifically, we used two experiments to determine consumers’ willingness to pay for soft drinks labeled with different calorie and sweetener information. In Experiment 1, participants tasted the soft drinks prior to the bidding rounds. In Experiment 2, participants did not taste the soft drinks prior to the bidding rounds. Bidding behavior for the soft drinks was significantly different between Experiment 1 and Experiment 2. Results suggest that including taste testing in the design of experimental auctions is important to accurately capture consumers’ willingness to pay for foods that are purchased repeatedly. Results also imply that policies aimed at combating obesity by making the calorie content of foods more visible may not produce desired outcomes.