Reasons behind consumers' functional food choices

Nina Urala, Liisa Lähteenmäki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

247 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of this study was to examine what reasons consumers give for either choosing or not choosing functional foods. Laddering interviews were used to find out how consumers described their reasons for choosing functional food alternatives in different product categories and how these descriptions are linked with values. Yoghurt, spread, juice, carbonated soft drinks, sweets and ice cream were used as example product categories. In total, five central means‐end chains, describing the product attributes, consequences and values behind respondents’ food choices, were found, which referred to healthiness, taste and pleasure, security and familiarity, convenience and price. They were found to be independent from each other and had different connotations depending on the product category. The results indicate that respondents did not see functional foods as one homogenous group over different product categories. Instead, consumers seemed to perceive functional products as a member of the general product category such as yoghurt or spread and only secondarily as a functional food.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)148-158
JournalNutrition and Food Science
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2003
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Consumer Behaviour
  • Food and Drink
  • Product Attributes


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