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Article
Publication date: 9 August 2011

Stephanie Kirchhoff, Heather Smyth, Jessica Sanderson, Yasmina Sultanbawa and Katrina Gething

The purpose of this study is to illustrate how means‐end chain theory can inform communications that effectively convey the health messages of vegetable consumption to…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to illustrate how means‐end chain theory can inform communications that effectively convey the health messages of vegetable consumption to various publics.

Design/methodology/approach

Laddering interviews were conducted with 61 participants who consumed at least two serves of vegetables a day and were responsible in part or whole for shopping in their household. A means‐end chain value map was then constructed using mecanalyst software.

Findings

Using means‐end theory, an example communications strategy was developed from the dominant chain. The health and wellness features that respondents associated with vegetables were “freshness”, a “source of vitamins and minerals”, and “high nutritional value”. In the mind of the consumer, these features were linked to the benefit concept “maintain energy and vitality”, which in turn was connected to the consequence “maintain an active life”. The end‐states or goals participants ultimately connected to the health and wellness features of vegetables were that of “enjoy life” and “achieve goals”.

Research limitations/implications

The research is limited in so far as subjects who consume less than two serves of vegetables are not recruited for this study.

Practical implications

It is suggested that social marketing initiatives designed to increase vegetable consumption may base messages on health‐related values or end‐states of being to resonate more effectively with consumers.

Social implications

High vegetable consumption is associated with a reduced risk of chronic disease. Effective strategies designed to increase vegetable consumption amongst populations may reduce the burden on health systems.

Originality/value

This study illustrates how consumers' cognitive processes can inform social marketing communications.

Details

British Food Journal, vol. 113 no. 8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0007-070X

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