Consumers’ willingness to trade taste for health, a study of soya milk
AbstractSoy foods are currently receiving significant attention from the food industry and consumers, because of its role as a functional food. However, the acceptance of soy has been slow in western countries because of its poor sensory characteristics, including beany and other off-flavours and aromas. Taste continues to be the primary obstacle to soy food acceptance and mainstream consumers are more reluctant than ever to compromise taste for health benefits. The study aims to investigate whether health-orientation is the driver or motivation behind willingness to compromise on taste in favour of the health benefits of soy products despite their reported poor sensory characteristics. It also aims to: a) explore consumers’ willingness to accept soy products; b) determine whether consumer understanding of the diet-health relationship would be an important factor influencing their choice of purchasing and preference for soy products and c) investigate the relationship between consumers’ acceptance and consumers’ perception of health benefits from consuming soy products. Mixed methodology was employed whereby a qualitative approach was used to enhanced the interpretation of a quantitative data:1) Consumer survey – quantitative method, 82 participants 2) Focus groups discussions- qualitative sensory evaluation method, 7 participants. Consumers are rather sceptical towards the concept of functional foods; their knowledge was uneven and limited. They also view functional foods as an expensive and unnecessary addition to their diet. Soy products were mostly disliked, due to their taste. It appears from the findings that greater knowledge on soy health benefits does not guarantee greater acceptance, it does however guarantee higher purchasing behaviour; respondents who believed in health benefits of soy were willing to purchase them more often. A majority (60%), however, disliked the soymilk sample slightly, moderately, very much and extremely; 79% of consumers refused to compromise on taste for health. Health-orientation does not influence acceptance or liking of a soymilk product when the taste is found unacceptable and therefore is not the driver or motivation for being willing to compromise on taste.
PublisherUniversity of Chester
TypeThesis or dissertation
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