Eating with a Purpose: Consumer Response to Functional Food Health Claims

Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, Vol. 28, No. 2, pp. 221-233, Fall 2009

14 Pages Posted: 22 Jan 2011 Last revised: 22 Oct 2015

See all articles by Rebecca Walker Reczek

Rebecca Walker Reczek

Ohio State University (OSU) - Department of Marketing and Logistics

Courney Droms

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Kelly Haws

Vanderbilt University - Marketing

Date Written: 2009

Abstract

Marketers of food products have recently introduced a variety of "functional foods" that promise consumers improvements in targeted physiological functions. However, despite the proliferation of functional food health claims promising more than basic nutrition, little is known about consumer responses to these claims, particularly in information environments in which inconsistent information may be available about the efficacy of a particular functional ingredient. Across two studies, the authors demonstrate that consumers with lower health consciousness are particularly sensitive to conflicting information about the validity of a functional food health claim; specifically, the presentation of conflicting (versus complementary) information significantly lowers their likelihood of choosing a functional over a nonfunctional food. In contrast, consumers with higher health consciousness do not reduce their likelihood of choosing a functional food when confronted with conflicting information. The authors demonstrate that this effect is driven by a confirmatory bias to believe the functional food health claim on the part of more health conscious consumers. The authors discuss implications for the successful marketing of functional foods and for public policy makers and consumers.

Keywords: confirmatory bias, Food and Drug Administration, functional food health claims, functional foods, health consciousness

Suggested Citation

Reczek, Rebecca Walker and Droms, Courney and Haws, Kelly, Eating with a Purpose: Consumer Response to Functional Food Health Claims (2009). Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, Vol. 28, No. 2, pp. 221-233, Fall 2009. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1619321

Rebecca Walker Reczek (Contact Author)

Ohio State University (OSU) - Department of Marketing and Logistics ( email )

2100 Neil Avenue
538 Fisher Hall
Columbus, OH 43210
United States

Courney Droms

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

Kelly Haws

Vanderbilt University - Marketing ( email )

Nashville, TN 37203
United States

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