The basis of our study was provided by the question previously discussed in literature: whether functional food producers should enrich unhealthy or healthy carriers. Most of the previous studies reached the conclusion that such foods can be the carriers of successful functional foods that are perceived as healthy by themselves, such as yoghurt, cereals, orange juice and whole grain products. According to some authors, however, carriers that are perceived as healthy are not worth improving functionally, because they are perceived as healthy by themselves, so consumers did not find artificial enrichment necessary. The main objective of the study was to find out that the enrichment of which foods would be the most justified for food companies in Hungary. In our online questionnaire reaching 2034 respondents we built on the methodology of previous studies. As part of the questionnaire, based on conjoint cards, we created different mini-concepts to study the respondents’ willingness to buy them. For Hungarian customers, based on the respondents’ answers, the enrichment of “healthy foods”– aligning with the findings of several other researchers – generally makes the judgment of the product even more favourable, however, we also agree with the findings of researchers arguing differently, namely that in the case of an unhealthy product enrichment can cause a bigger change in how healthy it is perceived. But in the case when a functional food developer wants to sell their product with its healthy image, it is a better choice to enrich a carrier that is perceived as healthy, because the purchase intention for the product created by enriching something “unhealthy” is not going to be as high as the purchase intention for the non-enriched product seen as healthy.
The Hungarian Journal of Nutrition Marketing. 2018. 5 (1) 35-48.