Older consumers’ perceptions of functional foods and non-edible health-enhancing innovations

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Puhakka , R , Valve , R H & Sinkkonen , A T 2018 , ' Older consumers’ perceptions of functional foods and non-edible health-enhancing innovations ' , International Journal of Consumer Studies , vol. 42 , no. 1 , pp. 111-119 . https://doi.org/10.1111/ijcs.12400 , https://doi.org/10.1111/ijcs.12400

Title: Older consumers’ perceptions of functional foods and non-edible health-enhancing innovations
Author: Puhakka, Riikka; Valve, Raisa Helena; Sinkkonen, Aki Tapio
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Nature-Based Solutions
University of Helsinki, Department of Food and Nutrition
University of Helsinki, Environmental Sciences
Date: 2018-01
Language: eng
Number of pages: 9
Belongs to series: International Journal of Consumer Studies
ISSN: 1470-6431
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/235492
Abstract: Increasing interest in health and well-being is likely to drive a growth in demand for products that have positive effects on health. Consumers’ acceptance of and willingness to buy functional foods has been widely studied, but there has not been research on consumers’ attitudes towards innovative non-edible products with health effects. This study examines how older consumers perceive functional foods and novel non-edible health-enhancing products, how willing they are to purchase such products, and how health orientation influences their views. As an example of a ‘radical’ innovation, consumers’ acceptance of rubbing their hands in a specific soil-based mixture to modulate the immune system is explored. The research material, 13 thematic interviews, was collected in Lahti region, Finland, in 2015. The study indicates that the older consumers’ market is not homogeneous. Based on a qualitative, in-depth approach, the study distinguishes four consumer segments with different lay understandings of health and attitudes towards health-enhancing products, which influence people's willingness to purchase such products. The segments are health-seeking consumers, cautious consumers, critical consumers and natural health consumers. Various motives and barriers for using products with health claims are also identified. The case of rubbing hands in organic soil-based mixture indicates the difficulty of predicting which consumer segment will first adopt this kind of ‘radical’ innovation. The results highlight that the credence qualities of a novel product must be communicated and advertised before entering the market while also taking into account the sensory properties of the product. ‘Radical innovations’ must be in a form that consumers can easily accept.
Subject: 511 Economics
512 Business and Management
consumer behaviour
functional foods
radical innovation

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