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Functional, organic or conventional? Food choices of health conscious and skeptical consumers

Justina Gineikiene (Department of Marketing, Vilnius University, Vilnius, Lithuania)
Justina Kiudyte (Faculty of Mathematics and Informatics, Vilnius University, Vilnius, Lithuania)
Mindaugas Degutis (Department of Marketing, Vilnius University, Vilnius, Lithuania)

Baltic Journal of Management

ISSN: 1746-5265

Article publication date: 3 April 2017

2249

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore how health consciousness and skepticism toward health claims are related to perceived healthiness and willingness to buy functional food (i.e. functional yogurt) compared to conventional and organic (bio) food.

Design/methodology/approach

A survey of 295 consumers was conducted in Lithuania. Data were analyzed using structural equation modeling.

Findings

Research findings indicate that health conscious consumers tend to discount messages about the health value of functional food and show preferences for organic food. In contrast, skepticism toward health claims has a higher negative homogenous impact on the perceived healthiness of functional, organic and conventional products compared to health consciousness. On the other hand, skepticism toward health claims does not directly reduce consumers’ willingness to buy functional, organic and conventional products.

Research limitations/implications

Testing other settings, product categories, additional constructs and understanding underlying processes using an experimental design may help to gain more insights into how health conscious and skeptical consumers make food choices.

Practical implications

An examination of health consciousness and skepticism toward health claims can provide at least a partial explanation as to why many functional food products fail to gain consumer confidence.

Originality/value

Based on the reactance theory, the study sheds some light on the understanding of how different psychosocial factors are related to consumer attitudes toward functional, organic and conventional food.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This research was funded by a Grant (No. SMP/13V-021/SMP13-128) from the Research Council of Lithuania.

Citation

Gineikiene, J., Kiudyte, J. and Degutis, M. (2017), "Functional, organic or conventional? Food choices of health conscious and skeptical consumers", Baltic Journal of Management, Vol. 12 No. 2, pp. 139-152. https://doi.org/10.1108/BJM-01-2016-0016

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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