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Investigating consumer knowledge and behaviour in the context of functional foods

By Clare Hall

Abstract

The future of functional foods will depend on the extent to which they are accepted by consumers. Results are presented from a questionnaire that investigated consumers’ self-reported knowledge, behavioural intentions and purchasing behaviour regarding functional foods. Findings are that two thirds of UK respondents, just less than half of Danish respondents, almost two thirds of Spanish respondents, and 88% of Polish respondents say they buy one or two functional food items per week. Between 30-55% of respondents say they understand functional foods reasonably well (UK 55%; Denmark 30%; Spain 43%; Poland 49%). A number of factors were related to respondents’ stated intention to purchase probiotics. If someone in the household had suffered food poisoning in the previous 12 months or had children living at home, respondents were more likely to consider buying functional foods to help reduce the risk of food poisoning. Respondents who have never had any formal food safety training were more likely to consider buying functional foods. Further, knowledge of the correct food sources for a number of foodborne pathogens also affected the likelihood of respondents considering buying probiotic functional foods. The findings provide up-to-date information about consumers and the developing functional foods market.Consumers, knowledge, behaviour, functional foods, Food Consumption/Nutrition/Food Safety,

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