Chair of Marketing

Taste Lovers vs. Nutrition Fact Seekers: How Health Consciousness and Self-Efficacy Determine the Way Consumers Choose Food Products

Journal of Consumer BehaviourThis article identifies consumer segments that differ in the way they consider health-related and health-unrelated food properties when making food choices. The paper makes two assumptions: first, the level of health consciousness determines the quality of the attributes (health related versus health unrelated) these segments consider important; and second, the degree of nutrition-related self-efficacy subsequently defines the quantity of health-related attributes considered important. Two studies measure preferences for food attributes (Study 1: n = 54, 12 attributes, conjoint analysis; Study 2: n  = 162, 25 attributes, constant sum scales). In both studies, cluster analysis identifies two major segments (taste lovers and nutrition fact seekers) that are determined by consumers' level of health consciousness. Study 2 demonstrates that nutrition-related self-efficacy determines how many health-related attributes nutrition fact seekers consider important. Consequently, they can be split into ‘heavy’ and ‘soft’ subsegments. The study also identifies a segment that lacks a clear food choice strategy as a result of incompatible beliefs. The paper guides marketers and producers in developing healthy food products tailored to the needs of different target segments. Considering the enormous health expenditures, the studies' results are also beneficial to policy makers and governmental organizations to design social marketing campaigns. 

Mai, R.; Hoffmann, S. (2012). Taste Lovers vs. Nutrition Fact Seekers: How Health Consciousness and Self-Efficacy Determine the Way Consumers Choose Food Products, Journal of Consumer Behaviour, 11 (4), 316-328.