The purpose of this study is to illustrate how means‐end chain theory can inform communications that effectively convey the health messages of vegetable consumption to various publics.
Laddering interviews were conducted with 61 participants who consumed at least two serves of vegetables a day and were responsible in part or whole for shopping in their household. A means‐end chain value map was then constructed using mecanalyst software.
Using means‐end theory, an example communications strategy was developed from the dominant chain. The health and wellness features that respondents associated with vegetables were “freshness”, a “source of vitamins and minerals”, and “high nutritional value”. In the mind of the consumer, these features were linked to the benefit concept “maintain energy and vitality”, which in turn was connected to the consequence “maintain an active life”. The end‐states or goals participants ultimately connected to the health and wellness features of vegetables were that of “enjoy life” and “achieve goals”.
The research is limited in so far as subjects who consume less than two serves of vegetables are not recruited for this study.
It is suggested that social marketing initiatives designed to increase vegetable consumption may base messages on health‐related values or end‐states of being to resonate more effectively with consumers.
High vegetable consumption is associated with a reduced risk of chronic disease. Effective strategies designed to increase vegetable consumption amongst populations may reduce the burden on health systems.
This study illustrates how consumers' cognitive processes can inform social marketing communications.
Kirchhoff, S., Smyth, H., Sanderson, J., Sultanbawa, Y. and Gething, K. (2011), "Increasing vegetable consumption: a means‐end chain approach", British Food Journal, Vol. 113 No. 8, pp. 1031-1044. https://doi.org/10.1108/00070701111153779
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