Factors influencing the female consumers’ attitude and purchasing behaviour of functional foods in UK

Research Paper (undergraduate), 2017
10 Pages, Grade: A


Table of Contents

1. Introduction
1.1 Rationale and Purpose
1.2 Problem Statement
1.3 Research Aim and Objectives
1.4 Research Questions

2. Literature Review

3. Research Methodology
3.1 Research Design
3.2 Data Collection Methods
Focus groups discussion
Survey Technique
3.3 Sampling Technique
3.4 Data analysis

4. Tentative Research Schedule


1. Introduction

Functional food products or diets are classified on the basis of the one or more unique aspect or benefit to the body functions further than the normal nutritional benefits of the food to the human body (Khan, et al 2013). Though the growth rate of global food industry declined in recent decades but the growth rate of functional food recorded at 10% to 15% per annum in UK (Euromonitor, 2017). Moreover, the functional foods annual turnover forecasted to reach £1.4bn in UK in 2012 (Mintel, 2010). Additionally, the rate of increase in the consumption of dietary functional products is significant in UK in recent years (Euromonitor, 2017). In view of this significant value of functional foods in UK market, it is important to understand the implication of external and internal influences of the consumers purchasing behaviour. Hence, this proposal addresses important issues to be discussed in the proposed research.

1.1 Rationale and Purpose

It is a common observation that female consumers are major target segment for food companies marketing their functional and fortified food products. However, acceptance and preference of these products by female consumers due to their health and beauty impacts is an interesting aspect of the research which is not available widely in literature. The use of these products in regular diets and their consequences on female consumers; health are important to know as the major target market of functional foods are households led by female consumers (Armstrong et al., 2005; World Health Organisation, 2010). Moreover, the increased pressure of healthy diet choices for consumers force the UK government and the food companies to guide consumers about more informed choices of food (Herath et al., 2007). Therefore, the exploration of female consumers’ perspectives about functional foods will have important implications for policy makers in future.

1.2 Problem Statement

Functional foods are concerned as the segment of fortified foods that contain excess of a particular supplement to restore the health of masses, The fortified bread, iodized salts, protein diets, Omega 3 induced sea-food and other organic dietary products are included in important functional foods (Frewer et al., 2003; Armstrong et al., 2005). Thus, exploration of the attitudes of female consumers and purchasing behaviours are important to address the awareness and acceptance in target market (Kim, 2009). Additionally, the proposed researched will draw relationships of important factors affecting the purchasing behaviours and attitude of female consumers for functional foods.

1.3 Research Aim and Objectives

The aim of this study is to explore the factors affecting the female consumes attitudes and purchasing behaviour of functional foods in UK market. The assessment require thorough investigation by using mixed methods approach to describe the impacts of marketing strategies of functional food companies and internal factors of consumers behaviour in this context of functional food awareness and acceptance in UK market. Moreover, the research will explore the factors that can shape the attitude of female consumers in using and promoting the functional foods in social circles.

Hence, the following objectives will address this comprehensive aim of the study:

1) To illustrate the perspective of female consumers about functional foods.
2) To identify the factors affecting the awareness and perception of female consumers about functional foods in UK market
3) To determine the factors affecting the consumer behaviour of female consumer s with reference to the purchasing of functional foods.
4) To examine the factors that constitutes the attitude of female consumers for using functional foods for the family health and protection needs.
5) To recommend strategies to the functional food companies to target and influence female consumers purchasing decisions in UK market.

1.4 Research Questions

1. What are the significant factors affecting the awareness and perception of female consumers of functional foods in UK market?
2. How the female consumer purchasing behaviour does influenced by the external and internal environmental factors with reference to the purchasing of functional foods?
3. Which factors are significant in constituting the attitude of female consumers for using functional foods for the family health and protection needs?

2. Literature Review

The relevant literature for the selected topic will be classified in this section, the major areas of consumes purchasing behaviour explored by the researchers and argued about the perceived risk in purchase of functional foods and its implications on the health of individuals and families. (Niva, 2007). However, the complexity, issues with convenience, and availability of this functional food are discovered as other areas of concern (Watson et al., 2002). The literature found on this topic area mostly discussed the product development and marketing strategy perspectives for functional food development (Paddison and Olsen, 2008). Additionally, the influence of family members perception also related as important perspective in deciding about the functional foods presence in households’ (Sobal et al., 2006).

The focus of functional food products are on the improvement of health (supplements, protein diets) or the reduction of any disease such as blood pressure, sugar, or any other specific ailment (Chen, 2011). The increase in demand of these function foods based on the psychological, social, and medical reasons. The recent popularity of functional foods as a lifestyle element, a fitness assistance, or a treatment to chronic diseases gained population in UK like other countries in US and Europe. Apart from the rapid development of functional food industry, the literature predicts severe risks of expensiveness, complexity, and usage risks. (Ansari, 2014; Smith, 2007). Similarly, Wagner and Johnson, (2004) argued that the market performance uncertainty and non standardized usage rate lead to the market risk of these products. The nature of the functional foods and their recent popularity needs further research in the area of consumers’ perceptions of these foods.

Likewise the literature identified some themes related to the stereotype image of female consumers and their perceptions of functional foods (Doyon, and Labrecque, 2008), but large variety of literature did not put any emphasis of the difference in perspectives of buying behaviour due to gender differences.

Hence, the major gap identified in the literate is the use of generic perception of functional food consumers without any consideration of the variation of impacts due to gender differences. Moreover, discussion n the formation of respective attitude about the functional food is also not found in the studies as widely discussed topic (Armstrong et al., 2005). The components of female consumers’ awareness and perceptions of functional products with increase the penetration of these products (Barios et al., 2008). Consequently, the level of knowledge and understanding in women about the tangible benefits need further exploration (Krystallis et al., 2008). Furthermore although women have significantly higher awareness of functional foods (Herath et al., 2007), no research has progressed to explore this in-depth.

3. Research Methodology

3.1 Research Design

Pragmatic philosophy that comprised on the mixed methods of collecting both qualitative and quantitative data found suitable for detailed exploration of the research topic. According to Saunders, et al (2012), the mixed method research facilitates the coverage of research problem from multiple perspectives. Therefore , a combination of both deductive and inductive approaches will be used in this research. The descriptive methodology will support the collection of quantitative data from surveys and the exploratory methodology will support the qualitative data collection from interviews and focus groups. A multi-stage data collection approach will be used in which the finding s of exploratory research will be used to form the questionnaire of survey from female consumers.

3.2 Data Collection Methods

The secondary data will be comprised on the review of relevant and current literature with respect to the contemporary views on consumer buying behaviors and the factors affecting attitude and perception of consumes in food industry. Highly focused literature review will support the formation of questions of focus group discussion and analysis gap for the future research. The secondary data related to the function food sector in UK l also be added from credible reports, journal articles and newspapers.

The primary data will be collected in two phases of focus group discussion and survey of female consumers in shopping malls. The findings of focus groups led the formation of research instrument for the descriptive research methodology (Mason et al., 2009).

Focus groups discussion

The panel interviews and group discussion will be conducted with the representative of consumers associations, female consumers, female executives from professional fields and other related personnel. The discussion will lead by a moderator who will allow female participants to argue, judge, and express their view of different uses related to prevalence of functional foods in society. The major features of the focus groups are summarized as follows:-

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Excerpt out of 10 pages


Factors influencing the female consumers’ attitude and purchasing behaviour of functional foods in UK
Middlesex University in London
Catalog Number
ISBN (eBook)
factors influencing consumer behaviour, purchasing behaviour, female purchasing behaviour, functional foods UK, consumer behaviour, healthy diet issues, world health organisation, mix method approach, perception of female consumers, UK food market
Quote paper
Muhammad Khurram (Author), 2017, Factors influencing the female consumers’ attitude and purchasing behaviour of functional foods in UK, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/489412


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