In our earlier research, seven dimensions reflected consumers’ reported willingness to use functional foods. The aims of this study were (1) to further develop these attitude measurements into a shorter and more feasible format (2) to explore whether these shorter attitude scales predict consumers’ reported willingness to use functional products and (3) to monitor consumers’ attitudes towards functional foods over a period of 2.5 years. Two data sets were collected in 2002 and 2004 (n = 1156 and n = 1113, respectively). In 2002, seven dimensions observed in 2001 were partly merged and three measurements were constructed: Reward from using functional foods, Necessity for functional foods and Confidence in functional foods. When these were used for measuring consumers’ attitudes in 2004, four dimensions were found: Reward from using functional foods, Necessity for functional foods, Confidence in functional foods and Safety of functional foods. Changes in the factor structure indicate that the basis of the attitudes towards functional foods is not stable. Men and women did not differ in their attitudes towards functional foods. Minor differences between age and education groups were practically non-existent. In both data sets, the best predictors for willingness to use functional foods were the perceived reward and the necessity for such foods. The dimensions, however, predict reported behaviour differently depending on the target product. During the study, the influence of the perceived necessity on the willingness to use functional foods became weaker. The functional foods in Finland may be approaching the status of conventionally healthy foods.
- Functional foods
- Willingness to use