Consumers in European countries appreciate grain healthiness in diverse ways

May 05, 2010

Increasing the consumption of whole grain products and ensuring the successful introduction of functional cereal based foods requires an understanding of the views of consumers. The HEALTHGRAIN project of the European Union performed two consumer studies, each in four European countries, in order to study consumer expectations of healthy cereal foods, and assess the effect of claims and cues on consumer perception.

Overall whole grain products were seen more positively than refined cereal products in terms of healthiness, naturalness, being nutritionally balanced, filling and offering slow energy release. However, these effects were more pronounced for consumers from Finland but less so for consumers from the UK and Italy.

A second study investigated the impact of health claims on perceptions of healthiness and likelihood of buying cereal products. While consumers generally rated those products with health claims as healthier, this effect was much less pronounced for consumers in Italy. Likewise the health claims had a positive impact on likelihood of buying in Finland, Germany and the UK but a negative impact in Italy.

The results may stimulate food producers to launch whole grain based products and point to the usefulness of health claims. However, claims might need to be targeted differently in different European countries.
-end-
The EU Integrated Project HEALTHGRAIN: The HEALTHGRAIN project has substantially strengthened the scientific basis for a new generation of cereal based products with enhanced health benefits. The project also has formed a network of research organizations, industries and organizations communicating to consumers that will continue as the HEALTHGRAIN Forum. It has been coordinated by Academy Professor Kaisa Poutanen from VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland. Results of the project will be presented in the HEALTHGRAIN Conference on May 5-7 in Lund, Sweden: www.healthgrain.org

Food, Consumer Behaviour and Health Research Centre, University of Surrey: The Food, Consumer Behaviour and Health Research Centre at the University of Surrey brings together researchers from psychology, nutrition, food safety and management in order to address issues concerned with food and consumer behaviour.

Key references:

Arvola, A., Lahteenmaki, L., Dean, M., Vassallo, M., Winkelmann, M., Claupein, E., Saba, A., & Shepherd, R. (2007). Consumers' beliefs about whole and refined grain products in UK, Italy and Finland. Journal of Cereal Science, 46, 197-206.

Dean, M., Shepherd, R., Arvola, A., Vassallo, M., Winkelmann, M., Claupein, E., Lahteenmaki, L., Raats, M. M., & Saba, A. (2007). Consumer perceptions and expectations for healthy cereal products. Journal of Cereal Science, 46, 188-196.

Saba, A., Vassallo, M., Shepherd, R., Lampila, P., Arvola, A., Dean, M., Winkelmann, M., Claupein, E., & Lahteenmaki, L. (2010). Country-wise differences in perception of health-related messages in cereal-based food products. Food Quality and Preference, 21, 385-393.

Vassallo, M., Saba, A., Arvola, A., Dean, M., Messina, F., Winkelmann, M., Claupein, E., Lahteenmaki, L., & Shepherd, R. (2009). Willingness to use functional breads: Applying the Health Belief Model across four European countries. Appetite, 52, 452-460.

Further information:

Prof. Richard Shepherd
University of Surrey
Tel: +44-(0)1483-689449, E-mail: r.shepherd@surrey.ac.uk

VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland

Related Consumers Articles from Brightsurf:

When consumers trust AI recommendations--or resist them
The key factor in deciding how to incorporate AI recommenders is whether consumers are focused on the functional and practical aspects of a product (its utilitarian value) or on the experiential and sensory aspects of a product (its hedonic value).

Do consumers enjoy events more when commenting on them?
Generating content increases people's enjoyment of positive experiences.

Why consumers think pretty food is healthier
People tend to think that pretty-looking food is healthier (e.g., more nutrients, less fat) and more natural (e.g., purer, less processed) than ugly-looking versions of the same food.

How consumers responded to COVID-19
The coronavirus pandemic has been a catalyst for laying out the different threats that consumers face, and that consumers must prepare themselves for a constantly shifting landscape moving forward.

Is less more? How consumers view sustainability claims
Communicating a product's reduced negative attribute might have unintended consequences if consumers approach it with the wrong mindset.

In the sharing economy, consumers see themselves as helpers
Whether you use a taxi or a rideshare app like Uber, you're still going to get a driver who will take you to your destination.

Helping consumers in a crisis
A new study shows that the central bank tool known as quantitative easing helped consumers substantially during the last big economic downturn -- a finding with clear relevance for today's pandemic-hit economy.

'Locally grown' broccoli looks, tastes better to consumers
In tests, consumers in upstate New York were willing to pay more for broccoli grown in New York when they knew where it came from, Cornell University researchers found.

Should patients be considered consumers?
No, and doing so can undermine efforts to promote patient-centered health care, write three Hastings Center scholars in the March issue of Health Affairs.

Consumers choose smartphones mostly because of their appearance
The more attractive the image and design of the telephone, the stronger the emotional relationship that consumers are going to have with the product, which is a clear influence on their purchasing decision.

Read More: Consumers News and Consumers Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.