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Journal cover: Nutrition & Food Science

Nutrition & Food Science

ISSN: 0034-6659

Online from: 1971

Subject Area: Health Care Management/Healthcare

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Reasons behind consumers’ functional food choices

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Title:Reasons behind consumers’ functional food choices
Author(s):Nina Urala, (Nina Urala is a Research Scientist at VTT Biotechnology, Espoo, Finland.), Liisa Lähteenmäki, (Liisa Lähteenmäki is Group Manager, at VTT Biotechnology, Espoo, Finland.)
Citation:Nina Urala, Liisa Lähteenmäki, (2003) "Reasons behind consumers’ functional food choices", Nutrition & Food Science, Vol. 33 Iss: 4, pp.148 - 158
Keywords:Consumer behaviour, Food and drink, Product attributes
Article type:Case study
DOI:10.1108/00346650310488499 (Permanent URL)
Publisher:MCB UP Ltd
Abstract:The aim of this study was to examine what reasons consumers give for either choosing or not choosing functional foods. Laddering interviews were used to find out how consumers described their reasons for choosing functional food alternatives in different product categories and how these descriptions are linked with values. Yoghurt, spread, juice, carbonated soft drinks, sweets and ice cream were used as example product categories. In total, five central means-end chains, describing the product attributes, consequences and values behind respondents’ food choices, were found, which referred to healthiness, taste and pleasure, security and familiarity, convenience and price. They were found to be independent from each other and had different connotations depending on the product category. The results indicate that respondents did not see functional foods as one homogenous group over different product categories. Instead, consumers seemed to perceive functional products as a member of the general product category such as yoghurt or spread and only secondarily as a functional food.

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