Major cereal staples such as wheat, white rice and corn have a significant negative impact on the environment, a low nutritional profile and are associated with obesity. In comparison, alternative staples (such as rye, quinoa, buckwheat, etc.) are more environmentally sustainable and nutritious, yet are underused. There has been a recent surge in research into and awareness of alternative staples, but the current understanding of the different drivers of and barriers to their consumption remains fragmented.
The present study attempts to assimilate and incorporate the current knowledge on the drivers of and barriers to the consumption of alternative staples. Eighty-one empirical studies were curated and analysed according to stringent protocols in order to examine the existing research profile and themes arising from prior research in this domain.
The study presents a profile of the extensive existing literature examining the drivers of and barriers to the consumption of alternative staples. The thematic analysis of selected studies resulted in the identification of six drivers and seven barriers. The drivers are an awareness of health; awareness of environmental factors; recommendations; awareness of the brand, labels and source of origin; household structure and demographic attributes. The barriers are difficulty in preparation, lack of familiarity, lack of availability, lack of affordability, culture, product attributes and sensory attributes. The various research gaps and avenues for future research associated with the drivers and barriers identified are also presented.
The key outcomes of the study are the presentation of the research profile, the identification of various drivers and barriers, the recognition of gaps in the research and avenues for future research and, finally, the development of a theoretical framework entitled “Behavioral reasoning towards the consumption of alternative staples (BRCAS)”. The study offers various insights for nutritionists, marketers, policymakers and consumers by increasing awareness of alternative staples.
Shah, P., Dhir, A., Joshi, R. and Tripathy, N. (2021), "Drivers and barriers in the consumption of alternative staples. A systematic literature review and future research agenda", British Food Journal, Vol. 123 No. 11, pp. 3726-3759. https://doi.org/10.1108/BFJ-12-2020-1098
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