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Food consumption value: Developing a consumer-centred concept of value in the field of food

Hans Dagevos (LEI, Wageningen UR, Den Haag, The Netherlands)
Johan van Ophem (ECH, Wageningen UR, Wageningen, The Netherlands)

British Food Journal

ISSN: 0007-070X

Article publication date: 21 October 2013




This paper seeks to argue that a new and broader definition of food value should be introduced that includes other factors than the traditional mantra of nutritional value, appearance, and the like. This paper introduces the concept of food consumption value (FCV).


The development of FCV is based upon various research traditions and corresponding bodies of literature. The four constituting parts of FCV origins in different lines of scholarly theorising. These lines of thought are discussed separately. Collectively, they form the breeding ground of the concept of food consumption value.


The consumer-centred framework of FCV consists of four elements. Product value refers to food's features and functionalities like taste or texture. Process value refers to consumers' interest in the practices and processes of food production. Ethical considerations (consumer concerns) are thus taken into account. Furthermore, FCV encompasses location value and emotional value. Location value refers to the setting in which food is purchased or consumed. Emotional value is the most elusive element of FCV, because it refers to “feel goods” such as experience, entertainment, (self) indulgence or identity values with respect to the consumption of food products or brands.

Practical implications

The message of FCV for (marketing) practitioners in the field of food is that value creation should depart from assessing consumer value in narrow senses such as value for money. The feelings that foods can arouse are anything but valueless intangibilities, but crucial assets of value creation and competitiveness. Another practical implication of FCV is that for value creation in the food supply chain it is a sine qua non that downstream (location value) and upstream (process value) are fine-tuned consistently and constructively.


This paper is the first exploratory study on the development of the new concept of FCV that examines consumer value beyond tangible product attributes and price. This broader concept of FCV aims to interpret value in terms that adjust to today's consumer-oriented food market. Though inspired by other interpretations of value in marketing and food studies, FCV differs from these.



Dagevos, H. and van Ophem, J. (2013), "Food consumption value: Developing a consumer-centred concept of value in the field of food", British Food Journal, Vol. 115 No. 10, pp. 1473-1486.



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