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Soyfood consumption: Effects of perceived product attributes and the food and drug administration allowed health claims

Arbindra Rimal (Missouri State University, Springfield, Missouri, USA)
Wanki Moon (Department of Food and Resource Economics, Korea University, Seoul, South Korea)
Siva K. Balasubramanian (Southern Illnois University, Carbondale, Illinois, USA)

British Food Journal

ISSN: 0007-070X

Article publication date: 13 June 2008




There are two main objectives of this paper. The first is to analyze household consumption pattern of soyfood products. The second is to investigate effect of the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) allowed health claims on consumption of soyfoods.


The objectives were accomplished in two stages. In the first stage, the role of consumers' perceived attributes of soy‐based foods such as convenience of preparation and consumption, health benefits, and taste in consumers' decisions to consume soy‐based food products was investigated. In the second stage, the study analyzed whether the decision of the Food and Drug Administration to allow food manufacturers to use health claims had influenced consumers' willingness to participate in soy‐based food market or willingness to increase consumption, if they are currently consuming such foods. Lancaster's characteristics model was combined with Fishbein's multi‐attribute model to develop a soybean demand function that included perceived attributes of soyfood. Zero‐inflated negative binomial model (ZINB) was used as an empirical specification to address zero consumption of soyfood products. Data were collected using a convenience sample drawn from a Midwest college town in the United States. Two questionnaires (i.e. one with information about the FDA's decision and the other without it) were given to students taking introductory marketing courses. In total 400 questionnaires were distributed and 315 respondents returned completed questionnaires.


Attributes of soy‐based food products such as convenience and tastefulness had statistically significant effect on the consumption pattern. Consumers who perceived beneficial health attributes in soyfood products were more likely to participate in the soyfood market as well as increase consumption frequency. The results indicated that frequent users of soyfood products who were exposed to the decision of the FDA would be more inclined to increase their consumption of soy‐based foods as compared to those who were not exposed to such information. Yet the information about FDA's decision did not influence the behavioral intentions of infrequent consumers or non‐consumers.


Research evaluating the impact of government allowed health claims on food consumption pattern is scarce. This paper sets up a platform for carrying out the evaluation of such health claims by other food products.



Rimal, A., Moon, W. and Balasubramanian, S.K. (2008), "Soyfood consumption: Effects of perceived product attributes and the food and drug administration allowed health claims", British Food Journal, Vol. 110 No. 6, pp. 607-621.



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Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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