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Use of functional foods among Swedish consumers is related to health-consciousness and perceived effect
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences. (Caring Sciences)
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences. (Caring Sciences)
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences. (Clinical Nutrition)
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences. (Caring Sciences)
2007 (English)In: British Journal of Nutrition, ISSN 0007-1145, E-ISSN 1475-2662, Vol. 98, no 5, 1058-1069 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The aim of the present study was to survey attitudes to and use of functional foods and to investigate which demographic variables and attitudes to diet and health predict consumption of functional foods among Swedish consumers. A questionnaire was developed and sent to 2000 randomly selected Swedish citizens aged between 17 and 75 years. A total of 972 (48 %) responded, 53 % were female and 44 % male. Mean age was 45 years. The results revealed that 84 % of respondents were familiar with the concept of functional foods; 83 % had consumed/purchased at least one of the seven functional food products presented in the questionnaire. Of those who had consumed a functional food, 25 % had perceived effect of it. Positive correlations were seen between consumers perceiving a personal reward from eating functional foods, having an interest in natural products and an interest in general health. Consumption/purchase of functional foods was related to beliefs in the effects of the products, having consumed nutraceuticals or dietary supplements, having a diet-related problem personally or in the family, and a high level of education. The characteristic Swedish functional food consumer has a high level of education, is health-conscious and interested in healthy foods and believes in the health effect of functional foods. Thus, factors other than demographics better explain consumption of FF. However, the study population may represent a more health-conscious segment of the Swedish population in general. Additional studies are therefore required to elucidate the attitudes and use of FF in different consumer groups.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2007. Vol. 98, no 5, 1058-1069 p.
Keyword [en]
Vertebrata, Mammalia, Attitude, Health, Consumer, Health food
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-97713DOI: 10.1017/S0007114507761780ISI: 000250752300025PubMedID: 17640416OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-97713DiVA: diva2:172758
Available from: 2008-11-06 Created: 2008-11-06 Last updated: 2011-01-19Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. To Choose or not to Choose Functional Foods, that is the Question: Swedish Consumers’ and Health-care Professionals’ Attitudes to and Use of Functional Foods
Open this publication in new window or tab >>To Choose or not to Choose Functional Foods, that is the Question: Swedish Consumers’ and Health-care Professionals’ Attitudes to and Use of Functional Foods
2008 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The aim of this thesis is to investigate attitudes to functional foods (here defined as foods with health claims) among Swedish consumers and health-care professionals. The aim is also to survey demographics and health interests associated with the consumption of functional foods among Swedish consumers. Finally, the aim is to investigate health-care professionals’ knowledge of and willingness to recommend functional foods to patients.

Examples of functional foods used in the studies are probiotic fruit-drinks, probiotic milk-products, cholesterol-lowering spreads and fibre-rich bread with omega-3 fatty acids. Ten focus groups of consumers and three of health-care professionals were conducted. Two questionnaires were also used, one for consumers aged 17-75 years (n=2000) and one for health-care professionals (dieticians, n=100; registered nurses, n=200; physicians, n=200). Almost half of the consumers (48%) and exactly half (50%) of the health-care professionals responded.

The consumers wondered whether the functional foods were normal foods or medicines. They considered functional foods unnecessary, unless you suffer from incurable diet-related problems. The consumers were worried that the foods could be used as a compensation for an unhealthy lifestyle. While the consumers in the focus groups were mainly sceptical towards functional foods, these foods are being consumed by those who perceive them as necessary, the health-conscious, the well-educated and people who have noticed effect of the foods.

The registered nurses and physicians, in contrast to the dieticians, expressed doubts regarding the claimed effects of the functional foods. The dieticians rated higher knowledge and were more willing to recommend functional foods to patients than were the physicians and, to some extent, the registered nurses. The interviews with the health-care professionals revealed that the dieticians were more positive towards functional foods than the registered nurses and, primarily, the physicians. This was confirmed through the questionnaire. Those, who consumed functional foods, reported high knowledge, and perceived benefits of functional foods, were most likely to recommend these foods to patients.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2008. 115 p.
Series
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Social Sciences, ISSN 1652-9030 ; 45
Keyword
functional foods, attitudes, use, knowledge, consumers, health-care professionals
National Category
Nursing
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-9350 (URN)978-91-554-7326-6 (ISBN)
Public defence
2008-11-28, Auditorium Minus, Gustavianum, Akademigatan 3, Uppsala, 09:00
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2008-11-06 Created: 2008-11-06Bibliographically approved

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Landström, EvaKoivisto Hursti, Ulla-KaisaBecker, WulfMagnusson, Maria

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