Worlds apart. Consumer acceptance of functional foods and beverages in Germany and China
- Chinese are much more willing to buy functional foods compared with Germans.
- For German consumers, many functional benefits reduced willingness to buy the product.
- In both countries, health motivation and trust were related to willingness to buy.
- Food neophobia was negatively related to willingness to buy in the Chinese sample.
This study examined consumers' willingness to buy functional foods. Data were collected from an Internet survey in Germany (n = 502) and China (n = 443). The results showed that consumers in China were much more willing to buy functional foods, compared with their German counterparts. A substantial segment of the German consumers indicated lower willingness to buy functional foods, compared with the same foods without additional health benefits. The findings further showed that in both countries, the participants with higher health motivation and more trust in the food industry reported higher willingness to buy functional foods than the participants with lower health motivation and less trust in the industry. Food neophobia had a negative impact on acceptance of functional foods in the Chinese sample. No such association was observed for the German sample. The results suggest that cultural factors play a significant role in the acceptance of functional foods; therefore, caution should be exercised in generalizing research findings from Western countries to others.
- Functional foods;
- Food neophobia;
- Health motivation;
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