Factors influencing functional food and food supplement consumption

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Nikolett Németh

Abstract

Functional foods and food supplements are two of the major classes of nutraceuticals or food-related products that have health benefits, such as improving health and prevention and treatment of disease. The aim of this present study is to introduce the main factors influencing functional food consumptions as well as food supplement consumption, searching for the answers to the following research questions: (1) What factors affect functional food and food supplement consumption and to what extent? (2) What is the most authentic source of information in customers’ decision making? Results of secondary and primary researches suggest that the most important factors in decision making are: experience in earlier consumption, nutrients, quality and price.  Food supplements are complex products and therefore, it is difficult for consumers to check the quality of these products at point of purchase; thus food-safety is a major issue for customers when buying food supplements. It can also be concluded that the availability and reliability of the source of information can greatly determine customer’s decision making. The most authentic source of information according to customers’ opinion were the following: health care professionals, sales staff and health-related articles. These variables should be taken into account for marketers and businesses when considering product development or improving communication on nutritional and health benefits of functional food and food supplements.

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