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Applying social marketing mix to identify consumers’ preferences towards functional dairy products in Iran

Marjan Bazhan (Department of Community Nutrition, National Nutrition and Food Technology Research Institute, Faculty of Nutrition Sciences and Food Technology, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran)
Naser Kalantari (Department of Community Nutrition, National Nutrition and Food Technology Research Institute, Faculty of Nutrition Sciences and Food Technology, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran)
Nastaran Keshavarz-Mohammadi (Department of Public Health, School of Public Health, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran)
Hedayat Hosseini (Department of Food Science and Technology, National Nutrition and Food Technology Research Institute, Faculty of Nutrition Sciences and Food Technology, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran)
Hassan Eini-Zinab (Department of Community Nutrition, National Nutrition and Food Technology Research Institute, Faculty of Nutrition Sciences and Food Technology, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran)
Hamid Alavi-Majd (Department of Biostatistics, School of Allied Medical Sciences, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran)

Nutrition & Food Science

ISSN: 0034-6659

Article publication date: 12 February 2018

Abstract

Purpose

During the past few decades, production and marketing of functional foods has increased in many countries including Iran. Considering the fact that consumers’ preferences play an important role in the success of marketing a product to increase consumption, this study aims to fill the knowledge gap in this regard in Iran.

Design/methodology/approach

The theory of social marketing served as the framework of this study. Qualitative data were collected via eight semi-structured focus group discussions, between May and September 2014. Participants were 65 women (44 housewives and 21 employed women), aged 23-68 years, selected by purposeful sampling technique, considering maximum diversity. All focus group discussions were audio recorded and transcribed verbatim. Analysis of the qualitative content of the data was conducted using MAXQDA® software.

Findings

The findings showed that there were quite diverse preferences among studied women in regards to different aspects of a product and its social marketing strategies. The preferences toward functional dairy products were categorized in four main groups: characteristics of products including sensory and non-sensory characteristics; price; place of the product supply; and promotion strategies of products categorized in three subgroups of informing and educating, advertising and recommending.

Originality/value

This study is the first study in this regard in Iran. Given the novelty of functional dairy products in the market, the diversity of preferences should be considered both in production of dairy foods and their promotion plans. This understanding can contribute to success of interventions to increase consumption of these products among consumers.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank all participants who made this study possible.

Disclosure statement: The authors declare that they have no conflict of interests.

Funding: This study was funded by the National Nutrition and Food Technology Research Institute of Iran.

Citation

Bazhan, M., Kalantari, N., Keshavarz-Mohammadi, N., Hosseini, H., Eini-Zinab, H. and Alavi-Majd, H. (2018), "Applying social marketing mix to identify consumers’ preferences towards functional dairy products in Iran", Nutrition & Food Science, Vol. 48 No. 1, pp. 45-60. https://doi.org/10.1108/NFS-04-2017-0067

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited