The purpose of this paper is to identify the most important characteristics of functional foods and the motives behind its consumption.
The data were collected in the direct interview. The sample (n=200) consisted of 137 women and 63 men at the age of 18-60 years. The research tool was a questionnaire divided into four sections. The first one included quality attributes. The second one included healthful properties, functional components and carriers. The third one concerned the motives for purchasing functional food and included the consequences and values. In the fourth section the participants were asked about gender, age and education.
Among the quality attributes the research reveals six principal components package of information on healthful properties and nutritional value of the product, attributes of taste, health and safety, practical packaging, freshness, purity and naturalness. In terms of health benefits, two components were distinguished prevention of health problems, strengthening of the body and improvement of its functions. Among functional components, the following were distinguished vitamins and minerals, dietary fibre and Omega-3 fatty acids. As the best carriers the following were recognized: cereal products, dairy products, meat products; mixtures of fruits and vegetables. As the most important consequences motivating people to consume functional food the following were recognized: the health effects of proper nutrition resulting from consciousness raising actions promoting health; and the joy of eating and improvement of the appearance. When it comes to the most important motivating factors, good health, long harmonious life and self-esteem were included. The means to achieve these goals are to be responsible for health.
The key factors determining the functional product and motivating for consumption of functional food may establish a basis for actions related to development and consumption of the food. The understanding of the factors that consumers take into account when choosing functional food will help in shaping the optimal strategies for product development. Learning about the basic motivating factors in consumption may be helpful in the development of healthy nutrition education and promotion programmes. The research may provide valuable support for actions related to food products promotion and marketing.
The author would like to thank the anonymous reviewers for their helpful and constructive comments that greatly contributed to improving the final version of the paper. The author thanks the Rector for the financial support of this project (DN/GrU/EK/4/2012). The author also thanks the “MEDYK” Medical Centres in Rzeszow and Lancut for assistance in the carried out research. The author would also like to thank all the participants taking part in the research. Research within the grant funded by the Rector of the University of Rzeszow.
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited