A study of buyer behaviour and attitudes towards functional foods and related marketing activities
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Consumers have become increasingly concerned with the impact which the foods they eat have on their health. To address this issue, the food industry has developed a variety of foods that make health claims. Eating certain foods can, it is claimed, ‘reduce risks of health diseases’ or to ‘maintain a person’s health’. These foods are commonly known in the food industry as Functional Foods (FF). This study was conducted to examine consumers’ attitudes and buying behaviour in relation to FF and how can they be successfully marketed by the industry, with a special focus on regulations and labelling. Secondary research (literature review) examines the history, development, consumer acceptance and marketing of FF. Primary research explores FF buyer behaviour and attitudes towards these products. Primary research was conducted in two phases. Phase one involved 100 consumer surveys using the street-distribution method. Phase two involved conducting five interviews, four of which involved suppliers from the FF industry. The final interview was conducted with an expert in the FF research area, to triangulate all findings. This study found that the purchase of FF impacted on age. Trust in FF was significantly different between age groups. Recommendations by health professionals also had an impact. Main influences found included ‘healthy option’, ‘health issues’, ‘recommended by health professionals’ and ‘taste’. Furthermore, there is high potential for the FF industry to improve its marketing of the FF brands with the focus of creating harmonised regulations, clear labelling and educating consumers. This paper may be of interest to marketing professionals, suppliers and marketers of the FF industry and researchers in this topic area.
- Theses - Business LYIT 
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