2. Health or Taste? Consumer Dilemmas with Functional Foods – Literature Review

Kontor, Enikő – Szakály, Zoltán – Véha, Miklós – Kiss, Marietta

The current study of our two-part paper series is dealing with one of the most important attitude influences on functional food consumer behaviour. Namely, it focuses on “health effects vs. taste” attitude factor of functional food products, which describes the possible conflict between a pleasant taste and the health benefit of the product. This factor is analysed on the basis of two aspects of factors influencing food choice: internal (food) effects (e.g. sensory aspects) and external (non-food) effects (e.g. psychological, social, cultural factors). The most important internal (or intrinsic) characteristic is the taste of the food product. A remarkable finding of this study is that good taste is a crucial, self-relevant characteristic of any food product and bad taste would not be accepted in functional food products either. Consumers are hardly willing to compromise on the taste of functional food products for potential health benefits. Another aspect in the case of functional food products is that intrinsic product characteristics are given by the combination of the health-enhancing ingredient with the type of carrier product used. Studies have shown that functional ingredients that weaken the taste of such food products reduce their acceptance. There is a consensus in the literature that a natural match between added ingredient and carrier product increases the overall acceptance of functional food products. External (or extrinsic) characteristics, e.g. psychological and lifestyle factors, and socio-cultural differences provide further aspects of the potential conflict of “health effects vs. taste”. From a psychological point of view, one may assume that an individual who chooses a functional food is committed to the products’ benefits and may be willing to accept some unpleasant taste in order to achieve the desired health benefit. It has to be noted, however, that although the importance of a given health benefit may lead to the acceptance of an unpleasant taste, this acceptance is not necessarily supported by each of the health benefits. Lifestyle variables also influence the acceptance of functional foods, e.g. wellness-oriented consumers appear to be more willing to trade the taste for health benefits. However, the segment of consumers who are ready to sacrifice the taste for potential health benefits cannot be identified by using classical demographic characteristics as segmentation variables. The “health effects vs. taste” conflict is influenced by cultural differences, too. E.g. the priority of taste can be observed in whole Europe; in contrast, the preference for nutritional benefits is rather typical in the Asian countries. The final conclusion of our study is similar to that of the literature. Good taste and healthiness are not necessarily to be traded-off against each other. Hoping for consumer willingness to compromise on the taste for health is highly speculative and risky, so the functional food industry must develop good taste solutions. In addition to sensory perception of the food, the expectations have also been found to have an impact on the acceptance of functional food products. Consumers’ expectations are highly influenced by marketing communications. In case of functional food products marketing communication is strongly based on health-related information and this information influences not only the perception of healthiness but the liking of foods, too. Hence, additional values of functional food products (health+convenience+pleasure) have to be communicated as hedonic values, emphasizing especially the role of pleasure.

DOI: 10.20494/TM/5/2/2

The Hungarian Journal of Nutrition Marketing. 2018. 5 (2) 17-29.

Download: 02_Kontor – Szakály – Véha – Kiss_Egészség vagy íz – Fogyasztói dilemmák a funkcionális élelmiszerekkel kapcsolatban – Szakirodalmi áttekintés

2. Examinations of Attitudes towards Functional Foods – Literature Review

Kiss, Marietta – Kontor, Enikő – Véha, Miklós – Szakály, Zoltán

The current study of our two-part paper series dealing with psychological influences on functional food consumer behaviour focuses on attitudes towards functional foods, while the subsequent study will discuss other psychological influential factors. Several research studies have already examined attitudes towards functional foods but the wide range of available products, the significant international heterogeneity of attitudes and the diversity of the applied research methods make their comparison and generalization remarkably hard. This paper aims to organize these research studies according to specific standpoints, and based on this, to draw generalizable conclusions. Based on the literature review, we can state that attitudes towards functional foods are positive worldwide, and those attitudes have a positive effect on the purchase and consumption of functional foods. There are, of course, international differences in attitude factors that play a significant role in this positive effect, and also in the composition of those factors. These differences can be attributed primarily to the different development stages of markets. However, we can state that the most important attitude factor everywhere is the reward from using functional foods (health protection and promotion, well-being, good performance and mood) that has to be forwarded stated simply and obviously towards the consumers in marketing communication messages. Besides this, social necessity (including medicine-like effects) of and confidence in functional foods also influence the intention for consumption, thus, the healing effect can also be a useful buzzword in messages. In the less developed markets – such as Hungary – confidence includes the belief in the safety of the products indicating the fact that where consumers are not familiar with these products, perceived risks of functional foods can be a strong barrier to their consumption. Therefore, a key role of marketing communication messages in those markets is the reduction of perceived risks. It is worth noting, however, that functional foods cannot be seen as a homogeneous food category, thus the importance of different attitude factors may vary between the different types of food. Additionally, consumers cannot be seen as one, homogeneous group, either, therefore different marketing communication messages developed according to the attitude-based segments will be effective.

DOI: 10.20494/TM/5/1/2

The Hungarian Journal of Nutrition Marketing. 2018. 5 (1) 21-34.

Download:  02_Kiss et al_A funkcionális élelmiszerekkel kapcsolatos attitűdvizsgálatok – szakirodalmi áttekintés

1. Production, Trade and Consumption of Functional Foods in Hungary

Biacs, Péter Ákos

Functional food is a specific food which fulfills the original aim of being a nutrient and an energy-carrier, but promotes better health and well-being. During the last decades new and healthier foods were designed to reduce the risk of chronic illnesses and conditions such as cardiovascular diseases, osteoporosis, some cancers and obesity. However, functional foods are traditional foods expected to be consumed in the diet, but modified in such a way that promotes better health. In Hungary about 16% of the consumers are interested in buying functional foods for health improvements. Dairy products are most often the target products for reducing the risk of osteoporosis in the elderly and increasing gut function. In recent years the market of plant products, especially of fruits and vegetables was rapidly growing due to their high antioxidant capacity. Enhancement metabolism of polyphenols, and flavonoids formed in fruits and vegetables during traditional breeding and processing is not clarified yet and little is known about the effects of the extensive or intensive breeding and of the most economic harvesting time. The functional food science deals with the scientific substantiation of the influences of specific food components (biological active materials) as well as production and formulation of foods and food ingredients. Some of those components are obtained from natural sources, some others are artificial products of the organic synthesis in the industry. The term „functional foods” has never achieved an official definition, but most experts would agree on its benificially target functions in the body beyond adequate nutritional effects. Moderate consumption of vitamines and antioxidants in the diet carried in functional foods are belived to decrease the risk of chronic diseases. According to some market surveys the market of these designed foods is very large and rapidly expanding because of a growing interest among body-builders and other sportsmen with higher physical activities.


Download: 01_Biacs_Funkcionális élelmiszerek előállítása, forgalmazása és fogyasztása Magyarországon

3. Growing Demand for Functional Foods – The Customer Perception of the Domestic Cereal Market

Barcs, Júlia – Jenes, Barbara

Current scientific research raises questions as to how and why food-market consumer demands have changed over time, in relation to increasing health awareness. As a hypothesis, we assume that today’s customers are more health-conscious and open-minded about healthy food and health-related marketing messages both in Hungary and world-wide. Consequently, customers tend to look for the potential benefits of functional foods. We describe present-day lifestyle trends and the changing habits of nutrition as well as introduce the science of nutrimarketing and functional foods, along with their relevant claims. In our field research, we examine customers’ attitudes and mind-sets regarding the domestic cereal market between 2013 and 2016 with the aid of the Neticle system, an innovative online media-monitoring and analysis programme. Examining and understanding these trending needs could open new opportunities for companies to satisfy their customers with applicable product developments.

DOI: 10.20494/TM/4/1-2/3

The Hungarian Journal of Nutrition Marketing. 2017. 4 (1-2) 23-37.

Download: 03_Barcs – Jenes_Funkcionális élelmiszerek növekvő népszerűsége – A hazai cereáliapiac fogyasztói megítélése

1. Functional Foods, Consumer Attitudes and Personalized Nutrition

The dramatic spread of the so called diseases of civilization have occurred in the last decade worldwide. Deaths caused by them have long been of the highest rate among all causes of deaths. In parallel with the spread of the diseases of civilization, population of developed countries is increasingly ageing that increases the number of inactives and those who rely on health treatment. The outlined factors pose new challenges to the food industry: it requires the development new foods that slow down the spread of the diseases of civilization that hit the humankind through their health care effect, and at the same time provide longer life in health for the ageing societies. In the decade after decoding the human genome an extremely rapid development occurred in the techniques of genomics, and in the disciplines applying genomics methods. Researches in genomics focus on how the human genome interacts with the environmental factors for determining the gene expression. Nutrition as one of the most important environmental factors has an obvious impact on the health but we have not known yet exactly what this impact is and what its mechanism is. The so called nutrigenomics – that is a new discipline – aims to reveal the relationships that are not yet known. The personalized nutrition is a conception that adapts the diet, the foods, and the nutrients to the unique needs of the specific person.
The authors examined the relationships between the functional foods, consumer attitudes and personalized nutrition in the framework of a nation-wide representative consumer survey of 500 people. According to the results majority of the consumers (73.8%) believes that her/him nutrition (diet) follows a normal structure and all that she/he needs enters her/his body automatically. Knowing the critical health state of the population it can be stated that the high agreement portion is based on misbelieves. This is also indicated by the fact that 57.4% of consumers only eats foods that tastes good, even when it is supposedly less healthy. In the next half year almost 50% of the Hungarian population do not intend to switch to a nutrition considered healthier by themselves. Further 22% of the respondents already feel some urge to change their behavior, they compare the costs and the potential benefits of change. Only 5.0% of the interviewees switched to a nutrition considered healthier by themselves in the last six months, and the rate of those who maintain the positive change is 17.4%.
In the current situation there is no other option than raising awareness of the population for foods that provide excess nutrition benefits. These are the functional foods that hold important position in the education to healthy nutrition of the population. However, it is does matter in which strategy they are used by the enterprises. This applies for the development of both new technologies and new functional foods where involvement of consumers is inevitable today.
The so called perception screening theory answers the solution of the anomalies between the scientific objectivity and the consumer perception. We tried to apply the perception screening theory in a new discipline, entirely unknown to the consumers. The nutrition genomics and its major application area, the personalized nutrition are novel concepts to the population to such an extent that preferences and attitudes related to them have not occurred yet. This is why it could be interesting which most important psychological processes are the ones that can lead to the adoption of the new technology, and the development of the positive consumer attitudes. According to the results Hungarian consumers are mistrustful against the new technology and they are uncertain – despite its obvious advantages. The not so positive attitude is likely caused by more factors together. Traditional thinking, reluctance to the new play a role in it as well as the lack of information and misbelieves related to the genetic tests. The technology is novel to the consumers to such an extent that we found significant differences between the consumer segments only in some cases, i.e. consumer preferences cannot be classified, they are highly scattered. Finally, the authors developed an optimized practical model by which the successful launch of a new functional food and its hindering factors can be securely forecasted.

DOI: 10.20494/TM/1/1-2/1

The Hungarian Journal of Nutrition Marketing. 2014. 1 (1-2) 3-17.

01_Szakály Z. – Kiss M. – Jasák H._Funkcionális élelmiszerek, fogyasztói attitűdök és személyre szabott táplálkozás

3. Sour Cherry Seed Extract – An Emerging Functional Food

Papp-Bata, Ágnes – Csiki, Zoltán – Tósaki, Árpád – Szakály, Zoltán

Advanced analytical techniques have recently revealed powerful health-promoting properties in components of some plants, which had remained obscure until present days because they were not typically consumed as food by humans. A particularly fascinating example is the seed kernel of sour cherry (Prunus cerasus). Chemical analysis of the seed kernel revealed that the solid flavonoid-rich fraction, comprising approximately 64–68% of the kernel, contains several health-enhancing polyphenolic compunds including catechins, stillbenes, anthocyanidins and resveratrol. The remaining 32–36% is an oil fraction rich in tocopherols and related compounds, including tocotrienols, oleic acid and triglycerides. Previous studies demonstrated that oral administration of sour cherry seed extract to animals strongly stabilizes healthy tissue homeostasis and suppresses ischemia-reperfusion injury by augmenting expression of heme oxygenase-1, a major endogenous cytoprotective enzyme. The sour cherry fruit is a major export of several nations, including Hungary, however the seed is currently considered an agricultural by-product and discarded. The better understanding of health protective effects of the seed extract would open new avenues for the Hungarian agriculture and food industry in the future.

DOI: 10.20494/TM/2/1/3

The Hungarian Journal of Nutrition Marketing. 2015. 2 (1) 31-34.

Download: 03_Papp-Bata Á. – Csiki Z. – Tósaki Á. – Szakály Z._Meggymag kivonat – Egy új termék a funkcionális élelmiszerek piacán_final