Fearing the unfamiliar bean - How priming the healthiness and familiarity of different soy products affects product acceptance amongst neophobics and neophilics.

Backhaus, Birte W. (2013) Fearing the unfamiliar bean - How priming the healthiness and familiarity of different soy products affects product acceptance amongst neophobics and neophilics.

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Abstract:Purpose ~ Health attributes of soy-based food products are increasingly considered in consumption decisions in Western countries. However, several barriers prevent full consumer acceptance of the bean. Considering findings of current soy discourse and giving it a new twist, this study aims at investigating how priming the healthiness and familiarity of different soy products affects product acceptance amongst neophobics and neophilics. It is further assumed that the effects are moderated by general health interest. Design ~ Two pre-studies were conducted to get deeper insight in associations with soy products and to get an overview of the most familiar soy foods. Based on the findings, an experiment (n = 327) was conducted with the help of an online questionnaire showing soy advertisings. A 2 (food neophobia: neophobics vs. neophilics) x 2 (familiarity manipulation: familiar vs. unfamiliar) x 2 (healthiness manipulation: healthy vs. tasty) between-subjects design was used with soy acceptance as dependent variable and general health interest as covariate. Findings ~ The study showed that neophobic consumers are considerably influenced by the level of perceived familiarity with soy products, whereas neophilics do not show a reaction to a soy product’s perceived familiarity. Overall, neophilics show a higher soy acceptance than neophobics. However, influences of the level of expected healthiness of soy products on product acceptance could not be found during the experiment. The findings suggest that successful marketing strategies for soy products should target neophobics by increasing the level of familiarity of soy foods. Above this, a public information campaign could be beneficial to increase overall soy acceptance for both neophobics and neophilics by sharpening consumers’ attitude towards healthy lifestyles. Originality/value ~ Research on soy food acceptance with a special focus on food neophobia is non-existing. This paper sets up a platform to discuss food neophobia in the light of soy acceptance. From a theoretical standpoint, this research extends knowledge on consumer behavior in the food sector.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:05 communication studies
Programme:Communication Studies MSc (60713)
Link to this item:http://purl.utwente.nl/essays/63507
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