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Re-understanding the antecedents of functional foods purchase: Mediating effect of purchase attitude and moderating effect of food neophobia

Huang, Lian, Bai, Li, Zhang, Xiaoyi, Gong, Shunlong
Food quality and preference 2019 v.73 pp. 266-275
eating disorders, food industry, functional foods, health behavior, prices, world markets, China
The world market for functional foods has grown dynamically and China is expected to be one of the most promising markets. But little is understood the formation mechanisms of consumers’ purchase attitude and intention toward functional foods in Mainland China. The current study investigates the roles of trust, health consciousness and price in shaping consumers’ purchase intention toward functional foods by focusing on purchase attitude as a mediator and food neophobia as a moderator. Results from the sample of 1144 Chinese suggest that Chinese consumers had moderate purchase intention toward functional foods. Trust in the food system and health consciousness positively affects purchase intention via purchase attitude. Price negatively affects purchase intention; meanwhile, the negative effect could be counteracted by health consciousness. Food neophobia does not directly affect individuals’ purchase attitude or intention, but moderates the relationships between antecedents and them. Consumers with a low level of food neophobia treat higher price as a monetary sacrifice, while their counterparts may regard a higher price as a greater quality signal. The study offers the food industry insights into the development and marketing of functional foods targeted to the Mainland China market.