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Consumers’ perception of amaranth in Mexico: A traditional food with characteristics of functional foods

Edgar Rojas-Rivas (Institute of Agricultural and Rural Sciences, Universidad Autónoma del Estado de México, Toluca, Mexico)
Angélica Espinoza-Ortega (Institute of Agricultural and Rural Sciences, Universidad Autónoma del Estado de México, Toluca, Mexico)
Humberto Thomé-Ortiz (Institute of Agricultural and Rural Sciences, Universidad Autónoma del Estado de México, Toluca, Mexico)
Sergio Moctezuma-Pérez (Institute of Agricultural and Rural Sciences, Universidad Autónoma del Estado de México, Toluca, Mexico)

British Food Journal

ISSN: 0007-070X

Publication date: 20 June 2019

Abstract

Purpose

Demographic and socioeconomic changes, and health issues, promote interest in emerging countries for healthy foods, taking traditional foods under the perspective of functional foods. Amaranth has moved from local to a wider consumption as a functional food. The purpose of this paper is to identify consumers’ perception about amaranth and its relation to consumption motives.

Design/methodology/approach

A questionnaire was applied to 610 respondents, and free word association determined their perception about amaranth through categories. Cluster analysis identified groups of consumers according to their motives for consumption. Global χ2 and correspondence analysis related consumers’ perceptions in the groups were identified.

Findings

A total of 16 word categories reflected consumers’ perception about amaranth. Most mentioned were: Traditional product, Hedonism and Health and well-being. Three groups showed significant differences regarding motives of consumption. It is concluded that perceptions about amaranth are closely linked to the motives of consumption. Perceptions of health benefits are related to motives for health issues and taste. There is a group that still consumes amaranth perceived as a traditional food.

Practical implications

As a functional food, these results could be useful to promote amaranth from its perception as healthy. Producers might develop products based on amaranth that meet perceptions considering gender and age in Mexico and other emergent countries.

Originality/value

This work contributes knowledge to international research that analyses traditional foods as functional foods and consumer perceptions on these. It is a first approach to identify perceptions of Mexican consumers towards amaranth as a traditional and a functional food.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This work was carried out thanks to funding from the Mexican National Council of Science and Technology (Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología – CONACYT) through grant 220531CB-2013; and the doctorate scholarship granted to Edgar Rojas-Rivas.

Citation

Rojas-Rivas, E., Espinoza-Ortega, A., Thomé-Ortiz, H. and Moctezuma-Pérez, S. (2019), "Consumers’ perception of amaranth in Mexico: A traditional food with characteristics of functional foods", British Food Journal, Vol. 121 No. 6, pp. 1190-1202. https://doi.org/10.1108/BFJ-05-2018-0334

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited