Egészségmagatartás és funkcionális élelmiszerek: hogyan vélekednek a hazai fogyasztók?


  • Zoltán Szakály Kaposvári Egyetem, Gazdaságtudományi Kar, Marketing és Kereskedelem Tanszék (Kaposvár University, Faculty of Economic Sciences, Department of Marketing and Trade) H-7400 Kaposvár, Guba S. u. 40.


Our researches aimed mainly at finding the connection between health behaviour and the consumption of functional foods. During the research work, a nationwide representative consumer survey was carried out with 1000 respondents involved and focus group tests were done. According to our basic assumption, there is a significant connection between health behaviour and the consumption (purchase) of functional foods. This hypothesis was proved based on a model the most important elements of which are as follows: the consumers’ knowledge and information on healthy nutrition and functional foods, the population’s beliefs about nutrition and health, the consumers’ health history and consumers’ attitudes toward functional foods. They together have an effect on the willingness to pay for functional foods. According to the results, 96% of the respondents know exactly that the two leading causes of death in Hungary are cancer and cardiovascular disease. An outstanding rate of the Hungarian population know that there is a connection between diabetes and heart diseases and we get a similarly positive result analysing the connection between osteoporosis and calcium intake or the nation-wide character of osteoporosis. The biggest problem is the lack of knowledge about obesity: according to 30% of the Hungarian consumers, obesity is not responsible for any deadly chronic diseases. Over 70% of the respondents agreed that functional foods cannot substitute healthy nutrition, but can be part of varied diet. Two-third (68.1%) of the respondents believes that eating is a better way to obtain health-enhancing substances than taking dietary supplements. The majority (63.1%) are aware of the connection between food consumption and the prevention of diseases and a smaller rate (55.3%) also know that the bioactive components of functional foods have beneficial effects. It is a positive result that only one-fourth of the Hungarian consumers says that functional foods are only a temporary fad, they are here today and will be gone tomorrow. Eighty per cent of the respondents think that diet and nutrition play a major role in human health. The situation was not unanimous when we examined their trust in directing their own health (perceived behavioural control). Sixty-eight per cent think they are able to direct their own health, but 25% think they can do so only to a medium degree. The above-mentioned together give a willingness to pay extra for functional foods. According to our own calculations the consumer would pay 57 HUF (0.3 USD) more on average for the new probiotic butter cream if it got on the market, which means 357 HUF (1.88 USD) compared to the 300 HUF (1.58 USD) price of the traditional butter cream. Expressed in per cent it means 19% extra price. In the near future, the strengthening of the behavioural control will become a very important issue in Hungary. If the consumers believe that they are able to direct their own life, then they will be more likely to take concrete steps in order to protect their health (actual behavioural control). In the opposite case, consumers will preserve the traditional eating habits, they will make irrational decisions and the state of health of the population is unlikely to improve in the near future.




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