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Consumer decision-making for functional foods: Insights from a Qualitative Study

Anninou, Ioanna and Foxall, GR (2017) Consumer decision-making for functional foods: Insights from a Qualitative Study Journal of Consumer Marketing, 34 (7). pp. 552-565.

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Purpose This study examines 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 This exploratory work methodologically utilises 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.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences > Surrey Business School
Authors :
Foxall, GR
Date : 24 August 2017
DOI : 10.1108/JCM-05-2016-1821
Copyright Disclaimer : © Emerald Publishing Limited 2017. Published by Emerald Publishing Limited. Licensed re-use rights only
Uncontrolled Keywords : Functional foods; Exploratory study; Consumer decision-making; Attitudes; Perceived efficacy.
Depositing User : Melanie Hughes
Date Deposited : 24 May 2017 14:53
Last Modified : 16 Jan 2019 18:52

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