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Body image dissatisfaction and health-enhancing food choices: A pilot study from a sample of Italian yogurt consumers

Francesco Bimbo (Università degli Studi di Foggia, Foggia, Italy)
Alessandro Bonanno (College of Agricultural Sciences, Colorado State University, Colorado, USA)
Hans Van Trijp (Wageningen University and Research, Wageningen, The Netherlands)
Rosaria Viscecchia (Università degli Studi di Foggia, Foggia, Italy)

British Food Journal

ISSN: 0007-070X

Article publication date: 11 October 2018

Issue publication date: 19 October 2018

Abstract

Purpose

Psychological factors, such as body image dissatisfaction and the negative feelings associated with it may be related to the adoption of unhealthy eating behaviours. Also, body image dissatisfaction may lower the likelihood of engaging in long-term healthy eating habits and in the level of attention paid to the quality of the food consumed. As a result, body image may be related to consumers’ choice to purchase and consume health-enhancing food products. The paper aims to discuss these issues.

Design/methodology/approach

A pilot study of a small sample of Italian yogurt consumers was employed to explore if there is a relationship between respondents’ level of body image dissatisfaction and the number of health-enhancing yogurt choices. The data were collected by means of a virtual-shelf technique and were analysed using a negative binomial regression.

Findings

Results indicate that body image dissatisfaction is inversely related to the number of yogurt packages with health-enhancing features chosen from the virtual shelf. Also, respondents who read the nutrition label and those with more knowledge regarding leading functional yogurt brands, selected a higher number of functional yogurts from the virtual shelf compared, especially among women.

Research limitations/implications

The results indicate that body image dissatisfaction is inversely related to the number of yogurt packages with health-enhancing features chosen from the virtual shelf. Also, respondents who read the nutrition label and those with more knowledge regarding leading health-enhancing yogurt brands selected a higher number of health-enhancing yogurts options from the virtual shelf compared to others, especially among women.

Originality/value

The relationship between body image dissatisfaction and health-enhancing food choices has not been investigated in the consumer science and marketing literature. Additionally, this is one of the few papers that use a virtual shelf as a data-collection method.

Keywords

Citation

Bimbo, F., Bonanno, A., Van Trijp, H. and Viscecchia, R. (2018), "Body image dissatisfaction and health-enhancing food choices: A pilot study from a sample of Italian yogurt consumers", British Food Journal, Vol. 120 No. 12, pp. 2778-2792. https://doi.org/10.1108/BFJ-03-2018-0157

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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