Trendek és tendenciák a funkcionális élelmiszerek piacán: mit vár el a hazai fogyasztó?
Hungary – due to its comparative agricultural and food industrial benefits – could play an effective role in the development of such new functional foods which would ensure Hungary – instead of a following – a market forming position. But the acquisition of the forming position is not an automatic process: it can only be accomplished if we are familiar with consumers’ way of thinking, habits and attitudes. Based on all this the main aim of the research is to analyze the consumer trends and tendencies on the Hungarian functional food market. Within the framework of the secondary market research first the theoretical background of healthy behaviour, then the innovation and consumer behaviour trends regarding functional foods were analyzed. The national questioning by questionnaires (primary market research) was carried out in September 2007 with 1200 consumers. According to the results the development of conscious nutrition has three main phases. The consumers are first product- or benefit-oriented: they concentrate on the food components (ingredients) and the nutrition benefits originating from them (e.g. dietary calcium – stronger bones). Later on the rational arguments are pushed to the background compared to emotional messages; marketing is becoming more consumer-oriented. Companies have to prepare for an increase in the appearance of conscious, well-informed and independent decision-making consumers. Generally it can be stated that the consumption frequency of functional foods is low in almost each category. 29% of the respondents are health conscious so they choose their foods carefully. But the decisions of the group are defined by the enjoyment value of the food: if the taste of the product does not meet the consumers’ expectations, then only 14% of them remain conscious. A sure sign of distrust towards functional foods is that only 38% of the respondents believe in the healing effect of health protective foods. Despite this they stated that regular eating may lead to the development of serious diseases (76,4%), this is why they need health protective foods (78,6%). It has been proven by our researches that consumers would like to have a healthy diet, at the same time due to lack of information they recognize neither the risks of nutrition, nor the nutritional benefits.