Developing healthier grain products: Consumers' views as possible barriers

Anne Arvola, Liisa Lähteenmäki

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle in a proceedings journalScientificpeer-review


    The aim of this study was to find out consumers' views of product development when the target is to improve the healthiness of grain products. The data were collected with four focus groups (N=31) in Finland. The themes for discussion were the role of grain products at different meals, use of plant breeding or processing to improve the product’s healthiness and what makes some grain products healthier than the others. The discussions were dominated by doubts about developing functional or otherwise healthier grain products. These doubts were based on questioning the necessity of improving the health value of grain products, general reservations about technology combined with idealisation of natural and traditional methods of preparing foods, ethical concerns, fear of increased price and the possibility of unforeseen health risks. Several advantages were also discussed. These included the utilisation of best scientific knowledge and regarding moderate development as basically acceptable. The predominance of doubts tends to occur in this method because it focuses participants' attention on the possible problems, instead of trying to find consensus on factors that they agree upon or are not concerned about. Although focus group discussion is a good method for pointing to potential problems, these doubts should be considered, not as barriers directly, but as points that need to be addressed when new products are developed.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)258
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2006
    MoE publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication
    Event30th Annual Meeting of the British Feeding and Drinking Group: 2006 Food Choice Conference - Birmingham, United Kingdom
    Duration: 19 Apr 200621 Apr 2006


    • grain products
    • consumers
    • consumer attitudes
    • consumer expectations
    • health


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