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Open Access
Article
Publication date: 1 April 2021

Xinyi Hong, Chenguang Li, Junfei Bai, Zhifeng Gao and Liming Wang

Following the standard practice of using nutrition claims to denote food functionality, this study empirically explores Chinese consumers’ willingness-to-pay for functional

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Abstract

Purpose

Following the standard practice of using nutrition claims to denote food functionality, this study empirically explores Chinese consumers’ willingness-to-pay for functional processed meat products by using three nutrition claims (namely “increased calcium,” “containing omega-3”, and “reduced salt”) made on pork sausages. It also aims to outline the typical characteristics of Chinese consumer segments based on preferences.

Design/methodology/approach

A choice-based choice experiment is utilized to investigate Chinese consumers’ valuation on attributes of interest regarding functional sausage products. First-hand data was collected in the two cities of Xi'an and Beijing.

Findings

There are market potentials for domestic and/or imported functional processed meat products among Chinese consumers. Nutrition claims made on pork sausages are appealing to Chinese consumers, and therefore, monetarily rewarded by them. Being imported from a more developed country of origin could both positively and negatively impact consumers’ WTP for nutrition claims made on pork sausages. Furthermore, specific functional modification strategies should be taken into account when addressing different segments of the Chinese market. In addition, regional impacts between Xi'an and Beijing are implied in terms of consumers’ valuation for functional pork sausages.

Research limitations/implications

Limitations in the current study are mainly two folds. First, the WTP estimation magnitudes are subject to a hypothetical bias by using a stated preference approach. Second, this study only focuses on pork sausages to explore consumers’ perceptions and selects three nutrition claims among many other relevant options.

Practical implications

Implications are provided for meat marketers and for Chinese official food policymakers, such that promoting meat products with a nutrition claim is an attractive marketing strategy for foreign food manufacturers in China, and more reformulated meat products with better nutritional compositions should be allowed in the Chinese market.

Originality/value

To the best of the author’s knowledge, this research is the first to fill in the literature blank on investigating the consumers’ valuation for functional meat in the emerging market of China. Because when taking Chinese consumers as a target market and evaluating their perceptions of food quality-related labeling and certifications, the existing literature is mainly limited to topics of product safety, organic/green products, and geographical origins. However, nutrition claims, as marketable credence attributes that associate closely to the main characteristics of the functional food products, have been explored to a much lesser extent among Chinese consumers.

Details

China Agricultural Economic Review, vol. 13 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1756-137X

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 6 July 2015

Ji Lu

The purpose of this paper is to examine how the purchase intention of functional food is influenced by the perception of carrier-ingredient fit, that is, to what extent…

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine how the purchase intention of functional food is influenced by the perception of carrier-ingredient fit, that is, to what extent the carrier product and functional ingredient are intuitively perceived to be matched, and how such influence is moderated by consumers’ prior nutrition knowledge and provided health claim.

Design/methodology/approach

Through two phases of experimental studies on 30 hypothetical functional foods, this paper analyzed the relationship between perceived carrier-ingredient fit and purchase intention which were reported by participants with different nutrition knowledge levels and in conditions that differed in the content of health claim.

Findings

Phase 1 (n=62) found that the positive influence of perceived fit on purchase intention of functional products was moderated by one’s prior nutrition knowledge; compared to those knowledgeable in food/nutrition fields, consumers with less knowledge relied more heavily on the perceived carrier-ingredient fit when making purchase decision. The results of study 2 Phase 2 (n=93) revealed that the perceived fit was more important to predict purchase intention in the condition without health claim. A further analysis revealed that health claim increased the purchase intention particularly for functional foods receiving poor perceived carrier-ingredient fit.

Practical implications

For innovative functional foods, the product development and market penetration may be benefit from fine-grained segmentation and positioning strategies that are based on the understanding of interaction between intuitive perception and cognitive knowledge.

Originality/value

The present work highlights consumers’ perception of the carrier-perception fit, interacting with nutrition knowledge and health claim, as a critical factor determining the acceptance of functional foods.

Details

British Food Journal, vol. 117 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0007-070X

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 3 April 2017

Justina Gineikiene, Justina Kiudyte and Mindaugas Degutis

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

1954

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.

Details

Baltic Journal of Management, vol. 12 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1746-5265

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 13 November 2017

Marine Kergoat, Thierry Meyer and Alain Merot

The present study aims to further examine the persuasive effect of pictures in a print ad according to the recipient’s ability to process the information and to observe to…

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Abstract

Purpose

The present study aims to further examine the persuasive effect of pictures in a print ad according to the recipient’s ability to process the information and to observe to what extent the presence of a picture could negatively influence recipients’ attitude toward the ad’s verbal claim.

Design/methodology/approach

Two studies were designed to manipulate the presence vs absence of an attractive/unattractive picture, the kind of verbal claims (affectively based vs rationally based) and the recipient’s ability to process the ad (cognitive load vs no cognitive load).

Findings

Main findings showed that the presence of an attractive picture elicited an unfavorable attitude toward the functional verbal claim when recipients were not cognitively charged. Furthermore, it proved to be a mediator of the influence of pictures on attitude toward the ad. The positive influence of an attractive picture on product evaluation and purchase intention was greater under a cognitive load but showed contrasting results for price perceptions. For the unattractive picture, cognitive load was found to be a moderator only when recipients had to infer the product price.

Research limitations/implications

The present research emphasized the negative influence of attractive pictures on functional verbal claims and the moderating role of cognitive load on pictorial stimuli either acting as peripheral or central cues in the persuasive process.

Practical implications

Practitioners may want to consider that an attractive picture in advertising is not always the best route for persuasion, especially when the verbal ad content emphasizes the product’s properties.

Originality/value

The present study provides new insights regarding the role of pictures in advertising persuasive effectiveness. Until now, no research had addressed the extent to which the presence of a picture could affect processing of an ad’s verbal claims. Additionally, the present study expands research on persuasive communication and affirms the necessity of more intensively investigating the role of pictures in advertising under the rubric of information processing level.

Details

Journal of Consumer Marketing, vol. 34 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0736-3761

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 December 2002

Suku Bhaskaran and Felicity Hardley

Builds on past studies in the USA and assesses the market potential for functional goods through investigating consumer needs and attitudes. Aims to add to past research…

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Abstract

Builds on past studies in the USA and assesses the market potential for functional goods through investigating consumer needs and attitudes. Aims to add to past research through: assessing consumer knowledge and beliefs on nutrition and diet‐health relationships; analysing the influence of such knowledge and beliefs of information and sources of information; and evaluating the effectiveness and implications of government preventative health campaigns on purchase behaviour. Concludes that issues regarding personal and national health are extremely important because of the financial costs and human suffering that could be involved; and that functional goods, as a relatively new phenomenon, still need to be examined further with regard to their influence on trust and legitimacy in buyer behaviour.

Details

Journal of Consumer Marketing, vol. 19 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0736-3761

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 18 September 2007

Neela Badrie, Simone Reid‐Foster, Chandra Benny‐Ollivierra and Hazel Roberts

There is unprecedented interest by consumers to improve health and wellness through dietary means. This first study conducted in Trinidad, West Indies, aims to examine the…

Abstract

Purpose

There is unprecedented interest by consumers to improve health and wellness through dietary means. This first study conducted in Trinidad, West Indies, aims to examine the exercise enthusiasts’ perceptions, choices, reasons and beliefs of functional foods.

Design/methodology/approach

A structured questionnaire was administered to 120 randomly chosen exercise/fitness enthusiasts at six gyms located in East and Central regions.

Findings

Only 50.5 per cent had heard of at least one term either “functional” or “nutraceutical” or “designer” foods with the most familiar term (34.3 per cent; p<0.05) being “functional”. Frequency of exercise (p<0.01) and age (p<0.05) were influential factors affecting familiarity to functional term. Tomatoes (89.5 per cent) and cabbages (83.2 per cent) were popular vegetable choices. Energy giving was selected as most (71.6 per cent; p<0.05) important health claim. The perceived benefit of functional foods was more for performance enhancement rather than for health. Functional foods were considered expensive (47.4 per cent), prevented disease (46.3 per cent), necessary for older people (37.9 per cent) and were different from others. On comparing the respondent's agreement of manufacturer's health claims of functional foods with their own beliefs, 39.0 per cent “agreed/strongly agreed” that the manufacturers exaggerated their health claims. Gender did not (p>0.05) influence responses.

Originality/value

Although, limited in sample size, the reasons given for consumption of functional foods and the chosen foods could guide marketers and food product developers. The study highlighted the need for public education on the health benefits and regulatory measures on functional foods.

Details

Nutrition & Food Science, vol. 37 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0034-6659

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 13 November 2017

Ioanna Anninou and Gordon R. Foxall

This study aims to examine functional foods, a relatively recent development in the food industry, from the perspective of consumer decision-making. It deals specifically…

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Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to examine functional foods, a relatively recent development in the food industry, from the perspective of consumer decision-making. It deals specifically with consumers’ attitudinal dispositions towards such products and seeks an overall comprehension of the elements of decision-making factors that precede their purchase.

Design/methodology/approach

This exploratory work methodologically uses several elements of a grounded theoretical approach, in-depth interviews with consumers (and food industry experts) and, more importantly, the constant comparative method of analysis.

Findings

The analysis indicates that three levels of decision-making processing form consumers’ final functional food choices in either affirmative or negative ways. At the abstract level, consumers position functional foods within their food system. A “benefit negotiation” process acts as the central route of decision-making. Finally, during the “appraising” stage, a representation of each functional food is built. This representation should not be perceived as a rigid one as it can be influenced by personal characteristics, marketing activities and, more importantly, monetary considerations.

Originality/value

The paper proposes a decision-making framework that takes choice issues into consideration. It builds on (connecting and challenging) some of the existing consumer literature on functional foods. The findings indicate the dynamic nature of consumers’ decision-making which is shaped by motivational and other personal factors. The study identifies the concept of perceived efficacy of such foods, a concept discussed widely in previous literature, as a subordinate aspect when compared to consumers’ consumption motivation, perceived importance and perceptions of pricing. The paper discusses the implications for theory, research and practice.

Details

Journal of Consumer Marketing, vol. 34 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0736-3761

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 May 1998

Nancy M. Childs

Enormous variation exists internationally in the regulation of nutrition and health messages on the food label. For the consumer, the health claim on the label becomes a…

1911

Abstract

Enormous variation exists internationally in the regulation of nutrition and health messages on the food label. For the consumer, the health claim on the label becomes a value‐added point of product differentiation. Therefore, for the food industry, access to a health claim is a key marketing variable. It is important to understand the role of the public policy process in establishing health claims as developing nations mature and choose an approval process to advance their own food regulatory environment. Their choice of approach, and the type of participants contributing to the process, will influence the type of health claim outcome and the latitude of marketing permitted on the food label. This paper identifies and compares the regulatory approaches, in effect in early 1977, used to establish health claims in Japan, Australia and the European Union. There does not seem to be a clear international “lead” nation regulatory model for health claims, and this suggests global economies of scale are elusive for product development and marketing based on health claims.

Details

British Food Journal, vol. 100 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0007-070X

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 12 March 2018

Nazuk Sharma

This research aims to investigate the impact of incorporating product shadows in brand advertising on consumer brand evaluations.

Abstract

Purpose

This research aims to investigate the impact of incorporating product shadows in brand advertising on consumer brand evaluations.

Design/methodology/approach

Three studies were designed using experimental approach to demonstrate how the presence of a product’s cast shadow in a brand’s promotional frame implicitly influences brand evaluations differently for experiential vs functional brands.

Findings

The presence of a product’s cast shadow in a visual frame implicitly complements abstract processing of an experiential brand but hurts a functional brand’s concrete gestalt by acting as visual noise, thereby improving an experiential brand’s overall evaluation in comparison to a functional brand.

Research limitations/implications

Current findings highlight the importance of using appropriate visual elements (especially subtle elements such as product shadows) to ensure communication consistency between the firm-formulated brand concept and the consumer-perceived brand image.

Practical implications

Experiential (vs functional) brand images are harder to build and maintain. Current findings show that a mere presence of the product’s shadow in an experiential (vs functional) brand’s ad frame reinforces the experiential brand image by acting as a consistent element in the experiential brand’s ad frame that enhances the overall ease of product evaluation. Hence, product shadows should be used as strategic tools by brand managers, rather than a random ad-execution choice.

Originality/value

This research makes an initial attempt to explore the relationship between product shadows and consumer brand perceptions. It provides a deeper understanding of the underlying process (based on associative networks memory model, construal level theory and processing fluency model) that influence specific brand perceptions (experiential vs functional) when a product is showcased with its shadow in a promotional frame.

Details

Journal of Product & Brand Management, vol. 27 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1061-0421

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 15 February 2011

Fiona Lalor and Patrick G. Wall

The purpose of this paper is to review and compare the scientific and regulatory environments for nutrition and health claims on foodstuffs in the USA, Japan and the…

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to review and compare the scientific and regulatory environments for nutrition and health claims on foodstuffs in the USA, Japan and the European Union.

Design/methodology/approach

A review of the literature and the relevant legislation in the three different countries is conducted. Regulations are reviewed and scientific evidence requirements are outlined in each country.

Findings

Full regulatory approval for claims across all three countries requires the support of robust scientific evidence. To obtain this, companies must submit comprehensive dossiers and detailed applications to the regulators with full descriptions of the tests and studies completed during product development. However in the USA and Japan, an alternative process exists. A health claim that is suggested but not supported by scientific evidence is known as a qualified health claim and is permitted in the USA and Japan, but not in the EU.

Practical implications

The paper demonstrates the difference in regulatory requirements in different countries which leads to different claims being permitted in different countries. It also leads to different levels of scientific support for similar claims which causes consumer confusion and develops an uneven playing pitch for the industry. Given that the industry operates in a global market place, it is imperative that a consensus is reached as to the level of scientific evidence required to approve a health claim. In that way, consumers can be safeguarded from being misled, consumer confusion will not be a concern and products can be globally distributed in line with the increasing liberalisation of trade.

Originality/value

This paper is of value to regulators and the food industry.

Details

British Food Journal, vol. 113 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0007-070X

Keywords

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