The paper investigates the role of social networks in the millennials’ decision-making process of illegal and unnotified food supplements purchase. The connections and interactions that (co) produce information are studied with a holistic perspective of social sustainability as a development driver of business model innovation.
An exploratory qualitative multiple analysis study was conducted in two consecutive phases. Data from 23 semi-structured individual interviews were collected, followed by a netnographic analysis of the Facebook virtual community.
The results show that the decision-making process does not develop following the traditional sequence, as social networks modify the wellness meaning creation process and reduce risk perception. Moreover, social networks introduce the use of similar experiences of others and online information and emotional support on unethical and unhealthy behavior.
Due to the application to a social network, the results should be understood within this context. Future studies would benefit by expanding the target and the range of social networks explored.
The official information quality control, as a prerogative of public and professional health stakeholders, and the medialization of medicalization, contribute to the conscious development of their wellness meanings and values.
This work represents one of the first attempts to investigate resources integration through social networks in the pre-purchase decision-making process of unnotified and illegal food supplements. Unethical and unhealthy behavior develops through the interaction of actors, firms, influencers and individuals over social networks.
The authors thank Martina Ruggeri for the contribution in collecting data and for useful input.
Sfodera, F., Mattiacci, A., Costanza, N. and Mingo, I. (2020), "Social networks feed the food supplements shadow market", British Food Journal, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/BFJ-09-2019-0663Download as .RIS
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