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Acceptance of Functional Foods: A Comparison of French, American, and French Canadian Consumers

Labrecque, JoAnne, Doyon, Maurice, Bellavance, François, Kolodinsky, Jane
Canadian journal of agricultural economics 2006 v.54 no.4 pp. 647-661
attitudes and opinions, business enterprises, cultural differences, functional foods, globalization, industry, linear models, managers, marketing, purchasing, statistical analysis, students, variance, Canada, France, United States
Food products have diversified with industry globalization. To market functional foods efficiently, food managers must gauge cross-cultural variance of functional food acceptance. Expanding on previous research, we investigate young consumers' acceptance of functional foods. Data collected in French Canada, United States, and France in 2004 reveal that business students are slightly in favor of functional foods, and associate health benefits with these foods but very few product-related benefits. Students do not have strong opinions on the trustworthiness of information and expressed a slight interest in purchasing this type of product. Analyses of cultural differences revealed significant, albeit small, divergence in these variables. Statistical analysis performed on the full sample assessed the impact of food attitudes and other cognitive and attitudinal factors on the general attitude toward functional foods. Health and product-related benefits and belief about the credibility of information are the main positive determinants of the acceptance of functional foods, followed by high knowledge. Apart from the negative impact of Neophobia, none of the other food attitudes influences attitudes toward functional foods. Linear regressions performed on each subgroup indicated similar positive cross-cultural results for health and product-related benefits. However, cross-cultural differences are detected for knowledge, credibility of information, and food attitudes that influence acceptance of functional foods.