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Jacques Viaene Professor of Agricultural Economics, University of Ghent, Belgium Xavier Gellynck Assistant Professor, Department of Agricultural Economics, University of Ghent, Belgium
Presents the results of recent empirical research on the increasing consumer sensitivity to health issues in Belgium. Focuses on factors that determine consumer behaviour in relation to light products, using both quantitative and qualitative research techniques. In-depth diagnostic interviews are used qualitatively to develop a structured questionnaire, and quantitatively, a mail survey was organized through which the questionnaire was completed by 1,891 households. Analyses the results of the questionnaire by means of the Triandis model to determine behaviour towards light products. Eight components are analysed to explain behaviour: cognitive; affective; moral; social; behavioural control; willingness to change behaviour; facilitating conditions; and habits. Results reveal that dairy products are the most popular of the “light” products, though they do not have a far from “light” image. Behaviour is dominated by a preoccupation with weight control and illness prevention, and is highly inﬂuenced also by the household’s view. However, the “light” focus on the slim ﬁgure is now less appreciated by consumers, while a more dominant role is being allocated to health aspects. From a marketing point of view, a dramatic switch in product development and communication is needed.
British Food Journal 99/3  105–113 © MCB University Press [ISSN 0007-070X]
Since the mid-1970s, changing conditions in the industrialized world, such as the greater number of working women, the increasing incidence of single-parent families and the ageing of the population, have inﬂuenced people’s consumption behaviour in respect of food products. Several trends are evident: • Quality dominates quantity. First, food consumption in general is characterized by an increasing concern to eat less and to control weight. It is related to the socially dominant image of the slim ﬁgure. Second, in the context of the growing sensitivity to health issues, people want to eat better and acquire “ﬁtness for use” (Meulenberg, 1990). This attitude is characterized on the one hand by a declining consumption of food products with a negative “health image”, such as butter, fatty meats, coffee, spirits and beer, and on the other hand by an increasing consumption of products with labels such as “low-fat”, cholesterolfree, “light” and “vital”. • Back to the roots. Most food products are produced by the food industry and distributed through supermarkets. In this way, the consumer has become the “pure consumer”, who has lost contact with the origins and processes of food production. However, because people are more and better informed and human nature is inquisitive, consumers want to know where a product comes from, how it is produced and what ingredients are used. In this way, the increasing interest in labels, brands and guarantees of origin can be explained. This concern with “roots” also reﬂects the increasing demand for traditional farm and “alternative” products (Oude Ophuis, Steenkamp and van Trijp, 1990). • Taking a bite to eat. The general structure of meal-times, namely breakfast, lunch and dinner or supper, remains. However, more meals are taken out of the home and more people eat snacks during the day . • Convenience products. It is considered that as a general trend the time spent in preparing meals has declined. The success of convenience foods such as frozen products and
ready-to-eat meals can be placed in this context. The consumption of light products in Belgium has been analysed in terms of these general trends relating to consumer attitudes and behaviour. It has been found to ﬁt with the increasing consumer preference for quality rather than quantity . Given the current welfare provision and medical expertise in Western Europe, major objectives in the ﬁeld of public health are concerned less with extending life than with improving the quality of life, and this accounts for the emphasis on the relationship between nutrition and health (Tones and Tilford, 1993). A major concern of public policy in Belgium is with promoting health education by means of communication and information campaigns. For many years, attempts have been made to convince people of the importance of healthy food and eating habits. Research towards measuring the impact of former campaigns has recently been programmed in Belgium. One of the recent research programmes deals with the Consumption of light products in Belgium. The research is implemented by the Universities of Ghent and Liège. Ghent University took on the responsibility for carrying out the research in the Dutch-speaking areas of Belgium, while Liège has covered the Frenchspeaking areas.
The overall objective of the research lies in describing and understanding Belgian consumer behaviour in relation to food (and nutrition) in general and light products in particular. The following questions arose: • Who is the light product buyer? • Who is the light product consumer? • Which light products are frequently bought and consumed, and why? • Which factors inﬂuence buyers’ choices and decision-making processes? In this study, the deﬁnition of light products used was: “Any food product or beverage characterized by a decline in calories on the
[ 105 ]
These quotas were intended to cover relevant demographic distributions. 1995. Products such as yogurt. • social. data were collected through in-depth diagnostic interviews structured around a set of probing questions related to the subjects of nutrition in general and light products in particular.697 individuals. and these were incorporated in the two structured questionnaires for the quantitative research. built up according to the funnel approach (Aaker. the perception of products as “light” does not correspond with the deﬁnition mentioned above. At the level of the light product users. During the qualitative research. The Triandis model is applied in four stages: 1 The perceived threats to human health in general and consumer behaviour in respect of light products are described by: • types of product bought and consumed. where respondents were asked to indicate for each product whether or not it concerns a light product. Burns and Bush. Representative quotas were put forward according to: • region.and French-speaking parts of Belgium. but labelled “low-fat” and focusing on a slim ﬁgure. the intention to act out the behaviour and the facilitating conditions. which in turn is inﬂuenced by facilitating conditions. and • behavioural control components. milk and cheese are not perceived as light products. Starting with topics about food and nutrition.Jacques Viaene and Xavier Gellynck Consumer behaviour towards light products in Belgium British Food Journal 99/3  105–113 one hand and a modiﬁcation of its nutritional composition on the other hand. due to budgetary constraints. the probability of an act depends on the strength of the habit producing the behaviour. • affective. Of the various models available the Triandis model seems to the authors the most relevant because it takes habit into consideration. light products are perceived as treath for taste and providing no surplus as compared to traditional products. and • consumption rate: light product users versus non-users. • sex. At the level of the non-users. Kinmar and Day. Data about light product users and non-users were obtained from the consumer panel of the AEI. [ 106 ] . the Triandis (1980) model was applied as analysis schedule (see Figure 1 and the Appendix). and • supply channel. The qualitative research revealed some interesting topics at the level of both light products users and non-users. such as mayonnaise or cream. the inﬂuence of demographics is considered. • moral or ethical. equally divided between the Dutch. Hereby. Quotas were put forward according to: • age. The sample population was deﬁned as households which were former members of the consumer panel of the Agricultural Economic Institute (AEI) in Brussels.” Research methodology Both qualitative and quantitative research techniques were applied in the study During . • professional status. 2 Behaviour is explained through an analysis of ﬁve basic “behaviour inﬂuencers”: • cognitive. even if a lower fat content is mentioned. The sample size for the qualitative research was established at 40 respondents. “Light” makes consumers think of products labelled “light” or which are normally associated with fat. the focus was gradually narrowed towards food-health relationships and light product consumption. This consumer panel was established in 1972 but. The interviews were based on an interview guide. One questionnaire was for households as a whole and the other for its different members. which is a semi-structured topic list. Related motivational elements such as medical care. The model In the attempt to explain and describe the health-related behaviour reported in the questionnaire returns. was abandoned in 1992. good shape and other members of the family were mentioned. the qualitative research. which means an average of 1. • size of the household.95 questionnaires per household. The questionnaires were administered by mail and were completed by 1. 4 Finally. 1995). 3 These ﬁve basic inﬂuencers are used to determine the extent of willingness to change behaviour. respondents mentioned the misleading labelling of light products and the abuses highlighted in the press and on TV . rather than to obtain statistical representativeness. Tuorila and Pangborn (1988) tested a part of the model statistically to predict behaviour related to food. • frequency of buying and consuming. In order to measure the importance of these topics. they were incorporated in the two structured questionnaires for the quantitative research. facilitating conditions also inﬂuence the habits. weight loss.891 households and by 3.
5 per cent of the households Results The results of the research are described below in terms of each element of the Triandis model: perception of threats to health and consumer behaviour.3 per cent) evaluate the impact of food on health as important or very important. Despite the fact that for the majority of the respondents. light products were bought in supermarkets by 90.…) Source: Triandis (1980) It is important to note that eight of the top ten light products are dairy products. iuth the exception of semi-skimmed butter and light desserts. [ 107 ] . Based on the number of persons in a household who consume a speciﬁc light product – a measure of so-called intra-family consumption – three categories of light product consumption can be distinguished (see Table II): 1 family products: each or a majority (up to 50 per cent) of the family members consume(s) the particular light product. food in relation to health is considered as important. and 3 mixed products: for the light product in question. This perception is positively correlated with age. In 19931994. willingness to change behaviour. and the perception of the impact of food on health on the other hand. ﬁnally. ratio weight/size. The supermarket is the most important supply channel for light products. Perception of threats to health and consumer behaviour The majority of the respondents (97. the inﬂuence of demographics. all dairy products are listed in the top-ten. The degree of penetration of different types of light product is determined by calculating the share of households which had bought the light product in question at least once during the last three months (see Table I). Within the group of light products with a household penetration higher than 30 per cent. higher scores were obtained for consumers of light products. and. sex. on the one hand. facilitating conditions and habits. no general trend is identiﬁable. It means that the household penetration of light products depends on the number of family members consuming the product. ﬁve of these products are classiﬁed as family products. basic behaviour-inﬂuencers.Jacques Viaene and Xavier Gellynck Consumer behaviour towards light products in Belgium British Food Journal 99/3  105–113 Figure 1 The Triandis model Perception of threats to human health Cognitive Influencers Willingness to change behaviour Affective Influencers Facilitating or nonfacilitating conditions to behaviour change Social Influencers Behaviour Moral Influencers Habits Perception of Behavioural control Demographics (age. since the importance attributed to food in relation to health increases with the age. Also a signiﬁcant relationship is identiﬁed between consumers and non-consumers of light products. 2 individual products: only one or a minority (below 50 per cent) of the family members consume(s) the particular light product. while three are mixed products and only one is an individual product.
1993-1994.0 16. The most important motivations for consuming light products (see Table V) are “to avoid an increase in weight” and their “preventive effect for certain illnesses”. It is interesting to note (see Table IV) that the dairy products mentioned in the product list do not have a strong “light image”. Only three products are consumed daily by a majority of the respondents.5 50.8 Table II Classiﬁcation of light products according to intra-family consumption. the light products are classiﬁed into three categories (see Table III): 1 light products for which daily consumption dominates: > 50 per cent of the respondents consume the product daily.9 6. cheese and jam. skimmed milk.891) 76.7 10. the respondent was asked which of the listed products (see Table I) he or she consumes. • second.0 11. Based on consumption frequencies calculated for the consumers of light products. A high perception coefficient indicates a clear “light image” for the product. 2 light products for which occasional consumption dominates: > 50 per cent of the respondents consume the product less than once a week. products based on semi-skimmed milk Low-fat fresh cheese Low-fat margarine Low-fat processed cheese Low-fat matured cheese Low-fat mayonnaise Low-fat cream Skimmed milk.8 37. The BMI is obtained by calculating the ratio between weight (in kg) and the size squared (m2).5 30. higher consumption frequencies could be obtained for products such as yogurt.5 20.0 per cent. This index is frequently used by health care professionals to determine an excess or deﬁcit in weight. namely “to improve diet” and “because these products are bought by another member of the family”. interesting relationships are identiﬁed. in % Light product Low-fat yogurt Semi-skimmed milk.3 27. By verifying correlations between motivation and the demographic factors of age.9 30.0 17. and vice versa. Two other motivations have a score higher than 20 per cent. the respondent was asked if he or she consumes light products.Jacques Viaene and Xavier Gellynck Consumer behaviour towards light products in Belgium British Food Journal 99/3  105–113 interviewed. sex and the body mass index (BMI). by different types of light product. in local shops by 6. However.1 7. The perception is obtained by calculating the perception coefficient.7 10.5 per cent and in both supply channels by 3.9 13.2 72.1 19. products based on skimmed milk Light soft drinks Semi-skimmed butter Light soup and broth Beer without alcohol Light desserts Light jam Light confectionery Light meat products Light spirits Light ready-to-eat meals Low-fat vinaigrette Light crisps and other snacks Penetration degree of total households in % (N = 1. Most of the light products characterized by occasional consumption are products for which high consumption frequencies are difficult to obtain because of the product type.4 37.5 58.4 18. The perception of a product’s light image is veriﬁed through two questions: • ﬁrst. and 3 light products for which consumption is diversiﬁed: no clear consumption pattern can be identiﬁed.8 73. within the group of products with a diversified consumption. Basic behaviour inﬂuencers Respondents’ motivation and perception of the “light image” are examined as cognitive inﬂuencers. • B: the percentage of respondents declaring non-consumption of light products but who consume the light product. which is obtained by calculating the following ratio (A:B): • A: the percentage of respondents declaring consumption of light products and who do consume the light product. The following correlations were noticed: • There is a positive correlation between the motivations “in terms of medical care” and Table I Degrees of penetration of households in Belgium. Belgium 1993-1994 Family products Semi-skimmed milk Low-fat yogurt Low-fat margarine Low-fat mayonnaise Low-fat cream Light soup and broth Individual products Low-fat processed cheese Light soft drinks Beer without alcohol Light jam Light confectionery Light spirits Light ready-to-eat meals Mixed products Low-fat fresh cheese Low-fat matured cheese Skimmed milk Semi-skimmed milk Light desserts Light meat products Low-fat vinaigrette Light crisps and other snacks [ 108 ] . Moreover the top three of the light products obtain the lowest perception coefficient.
For 53. Only 1.2 per cent were consumers of light products.1 16.3) Semi-skimmed milk (61. Table V Motivation for consuming light products for % of respondents.2 31.9) Light spirits (62.5) Light meat products (51. while only 2 per cent consider it as less important.8 7.4 To avoid an increase in weight 1. The rest – 10. The presence of a light product in the home was considered the most important incentive to try the product (31. Related to other characteristics of food products such as presentation. The importance of taste of food in general and of light products in particular are examined as affective inﬂuencers. • There is a negative correlation between the motivations “because I like the products” and “because these products are bought by another member of the family” and the demographic factors of age and BMI. 85.4 9. The social environment of the respondents was likely to influence their decision to try a light product for the first time.2 and 4.0 14.8) Low-fat cream (66.8 27. and 3 less important. while males are motivated “because these products are bought by another member of the family”.3 per cent – had no opinion.4 6.1 4.0 2.7 respectively.2 3.2 8. Three levels were distinguished: 1 very important.1 5.4 3.3) Semi-skimmed butter (50.1 1. composition and energy value.2 22.3) Beer without alcohol (67.Jacques Viaene and Xavier Gellynck Consumer behaviour towards light products in Belgium British Food Journal 99/3  105–113 “to lose weight” and the demographic factors of age and BMI. Belgium 1993-1994 Light product Light ready-to-eat meals Light jam Light meat products Low-fat vinaigrette Low-fat mayonnaise Light soup and broth Low-fat cream Light confectionery Light crisps and other snacks Light soft drinks Light desserts Low-fat processed cheese Skimmed milk Light spirits Low-fat margarine Semi-skimmed butter Beer without alcohol Low-fat matured cheese Low-fat fresh cheese Low-fat yogurt Semi-skimmed milk Perception coefficient 12.5 11. the answers obtained were not unanimous.5) Light vinaigrette (62.6 per cent of the respondents light products were as good as traditional products. For 22 per cent of the respondents taste is important.6 per cent of the respondents considered these products to be better than the traditional ones.0 3. • Signiﬁcant differences in motivation were noticed between males and females. By comparing the taste of light products with similar traditional products. Respondents were asked what level of importance they attach to taste. while 34.8) Light snacks (78.042 Preventive effect for certain illnesses 892 To improve my diet 763 Because these products are bought by another member of the family 627 Because I like these products 480 To be in good shape 450 Part of a medical treatment 406 To lose weight 310 Other reason 121 Table III Consumption frequencies for light products by percentage of consumers in Belgium 1993-1994 Daily consumption by > 50 per cent of of consumers Occasional consumption: less than once a week by > 50 per cent of consumers Diversiﬁed consumption Low-fat yogurt Skimmed milk Low-fat fresh cheese Low-fat processed cheese Low-fat matured cheese Low-fat mayonnaise Light jam Light soup and broth Light soft drinks Low-fat margarine (76. The most important motivation for females is “to avoid an increase in weight”.4 per cent).4 17.9 2.1 5. Within the group of respondents who considered light products less tasty than similar traditional ones.7 2.2 2.4 2. taste is not a determinant for consumers of light products.1) The highest levels of consumption of light products are recorded for the respondents whose motivations were “to lose weight” and “to be in good shape”.9 2. Belgium 1993-1994 Motivation N % 37.7) Light confectionery (50.5 per cent evaluated light products as having less taste.7 [ 109 ] .5 5.5 5. In this way. 2 important. with an average consumption score of 5. followed by Table IV Perception coefficient of light image per product considered.2) Light ready-to-eat meals (74.3 2.8 6.4) Light desserts (58. taste is considered by 76 per cent of the respondents as very important.
their diet could be improved.4 per cent).Jacques Viaene and Xavier Gellynck Consumer behaviour towards light products in Belgium British Food Journal 99/3  105–113 recommendations of a medical doctor (27.9 43. and • the consumption of light products and the preoccupation with weight control were positively correlated. while only 18.8 per cent of the respondents. The results of Table VI Means of improving the diet in percentage of respondents. it became clear that most of the respondents (70. it is not clear whether consumption of light products will change. but who did not consume all of the considered light products in any case. • for males.5 20. while 14 per cent always do and 31 per cent never do. “price” is the dominant factor.6 11. • for females. • group B: respondents whose consumption pattern had not changed during the last three months.199 1.1 per cent intended to consume more light products in the future. The way most frequently cited by respondents (46. “no utility” and “not wishing to modify food habits” are signiﬁcantly more important.3 per cent of females claimed to have this behaviour.6 24. The availability of light products in retail outlets satisﬁed the consumers. Willingness to change behaviour and the inﬂuence of facilitating conditions and habits The results of the survey enabled examination of the willingness to change behaviour by discussing possible diet improvements and consumption intentions for the future. By verifying consumers’ intentions for the future. “To avoid an increase in weight” is the most important motivation for consuming light products. Belgium 1993-1994 Means Eat less between meals Diversify the diet Take more time for a meal Pay more attention to the quality of food Consume more organic food Take more time to prepare meals Consume more light products Spend more money on food N 1.9 per cent) to improve diet was to eat less between meals (see Table VI). 15. while 3. Signiﬁcant correlations were noted between demographic factors and consumption: • 44 per cent of males claimed never to pay attention to what they eat with the intention to control weight.110 981 757 627 525 303 114 % 46.3 per cent) intended to maintain their consumption of light products at the same level.2 per cent). Behaviour control was examined in relation to the extent of intention to control weight.0 per cent). The most important reason cited by both groups of respondents for not consuming a particular light product was failure to “see any beneﬁt in consuming this kind of product” (31.3 per cent) and the opinion of a member of the family (20. At the time of the survey. Here. while only 11.9 per cent of the respondents. It is important to note that about 25 per cent of the respondents consider the increased consumption of organic foods as a way to improve diet.9 per cent of the respondents followed a speciﬁc diet. the pricing aspect scores very highly and must therefore be high in reality . For 19.5 [ 110 ] .6 per cent) and considering “these products too expensive” (16.4 29. • there was a positive correlation between the preoccupation with weight control and the age of the respondent. Facilitating conditions examined the availability of light products on the one hand and reasons for modifying the diet on the other hand.9 per cent cited increased consumption of light products. To control weight. As regards moral inﬂuencers towards light products.5 38. the link to attitude formation and the resulting behaviour becomes clear. Only 6. Signiﬁcant differences noticed between group A and group B appeared to be related to gender: • respondents of group A cited signiﬁcantly more “no utility” and “not wishing to modify food habits”. According to 69. • respondents of group B cited signiﬁcantly more “pricing” and “lack of information about these products”.9 4. followed by “not wanting to modify food habits” (18. and • the presence of the product in the home and individual curiosity are negatively correlated with age and BMI. 55 per cent of the respondents from time to time pay attention to what they eat. interesting data are obtained from two groups of respondents: • group A: respondents who did not consume any light products or gave up consuming one or all light products.7 per cent said they would consume less light products. The following correlations with demographic factors were identiﬁed: • recommendations of a medical doctor and recommendations of a dietitian are positively correlated with age and BMI. For a survey administered by mail.
7 14. 24. A large majority of the respondents (92 per cent) claimed to take a hot meal each day.811 1. In other words. namely breakfast. The study reveals that only products where the word “light” is clearly marked on the packaging obtain a relatively high “light image”.1 [ 111 ] . a major advantage of the model consists in its ability to split up and to identify various components and determinants of behaviour. more research is required. of whom 94.Jacques Viaene and Xavier Gellynck Consumer behaviour towards light products in Belgium British Food Journal 99/3  105–113 the survey reveal that for 64 per cent of the consumers supply was considered sufficient.7 19. It is obvious that for these cases control over what is eaten is less evident than when lunch is taken at home. Demographics Demographics have a considerable inﬂuence on the consumption of light products.3 per cent take it at home.9 42. while 25. • A larger number of females per household implies a higher consumption of light products. • fat content. The information required concerns: • energy value. The impact of food on health is perceived by a large majority of consumers as important. food is a possible threat to human health.0 per cent were more or less satisﬁed and 4. mostly through eating less between meals and by diversifying the diet. Dairy products are the most popular light products in Belgium. • Households in which the women have jobs outside the home are characterized by a higher level of light products consumption. dietary improvement and family purchases. Considering the different types of meal. Despite the fact that the boundaries between its different components are not always very clear.6 per cent of the respondents evaluated it as insufficient.0 4. colleagues Budgetary N 1. and • sugar content. illness prevention. in order to test the statistical relevance and reliability of all components of the model. and • the opinions of members of the family and of friends and colleagues were negatively correlated with age and BMI. However. Consumption of light products was signiﬁcantly higher by respondents who modiﬁed their diet as a result of: • recommendations of a medical doctor or dietitian. but are not necessarily perceived as such by the consumer. • The age of the housewife negatively inﬂuences the consumption of light products. Consumption of light products is not considered as a determinant of improved diet.0 18. these products indicate the lowest penetration degree at household level.584 1. Conclusions The Triandis model is a helpful instrument for the evaluation of consumer sensitivity to health issues and resulting behaviour. while 59. Belgium 1993-1994 Reason Information obtained from books/ magazines Opinion of members of the family Recommendations of medical doctor of dietitian Changes in the diet of a member of the family Information obtained from TV Opinion of friends. Based on binomial regression. 36.2 per cent had no opinion on the topic. A signiﬁcant difference was noted between consumers and non-consumers of light products. 30 per cent of the respondents had lunch outside of the home. Related to the satisfaction of actual food habits. However. Consumers are aware that their diet can be improved.9 42.7 per cent were not satisﬁed. and/or • information obtained from magazines and books. The most important reasons for modifying the diet are indicated in Table VII. Concerning information on the packaging of food products in general. Behaviour and the willingness to change behaviour towards light products are inﬂuenced by several factors: • Consumers of light products are motivated by weight control intention. lunch and supper. the following signiﬁcant relationships were determined between consumption of light products and demographic factors (see Table VIII): • Households with a larger number of children below the age of 16 years are characterized by a lower consumption of light products.546 703 692 516 151 % 48. The following correlations with demographic factors were identiﬁed: • recommendations of a medical doctor or dietitian were positively correlated with age and BMI. namely: more information is required by the consumers. The taste of foods is considered very Table VII Reasons for modifying the diet in percentage of respondents.3 per cent of the respondents claimed to be very satisﬁed.
and van Trijp. • motivated to start light product consumption by a medical doctor or dietitian. which perhaps suggest that the consumer has lost conﬁdence in the label “light”. R.B.44 +3..001 0. eating out of the home is on the increase and implies less control over food consumption. Demographic factors have a major impact on consumption of light products. Health Education: Effectiveness.54 –2.56 + 2. • 27 ≤ BMI < 30 = excess in weight. and • BMI ≥ 30 = high excess in weight and obesity .003 +0. LandbouwUniversiteit Wageningen. • 18 ≤ BMI < 20 = underweight. Trying light products for the ﬁrst time is highly inﬂuenced by family members. NY. “Product quality in consumer behaviour related to food products”. • consumption of less than once a week: 0. while households with women working outside of the home and/or which include several females consume more light products. New York.M. “Recente ontwikkelingen op het gebied van consumentenonderzoek” (Recent developments related to consumer research). Marketing Research. Reasons for not consuming or for renouncing consumption of light products are lack of beneﬁt. Faculté de Médecine. while a more important role is now allocated to health aspects. and Tilford. Households with children younger than 16 years and those with elderly females consume less light products. Kumar. P.08 –3.. Wageningse Economische Studies 17. The traditional pattern of three daily meals – breakfast. M.F. (1995).33 0. M. Université de Liège. Programma PHLOcursus.06 0.09 0. “Produktkwaliteit in het consumentengedrag met betrekking tot voedingsmiddelen”. C. 2 kg BMI = ________ 2 m Related to BMI obtained. Englewood Cliffs.. Mémoire presenté en vue de l’obtention du Doctorat en Santé Publique. Burns. fat and sugar content. (1990). the frequent user of light products can be described as: • a member of a family in which everyone consumes light products.Jacques Viaene and Xavier Gellynck Consumer behaviour towards light products in Belgium British Food Journal 99/3  105–113 • • • • • • • important. London. Efficiency and Equity. Chapman & Hall. S. NJ. From a marketing point of view. focusing on the slim ﬁgure.). Consumption of light products is higher by consumers preoccupied with weight control. 17. The presence of the product in the home and the opinion of family members are important determinant factors.T. in Meulenberg. Marketing in Agribusiness. J. Steenkamp.16 –0.C. but is not a determinant for consumption of light products.E. (1990). Ecole de Santé Publique. Meulenberg. and Bush (1995). (Ed. Notes 1 Professor Reginster. Sart Tilman B-23. refusal to modify food habits and price. Changes in diet through consumption of light products are the result of recommendations of a medical doctor/dietitian or of information obtained from books/ magazines. lunch and supper – remains strong. Consumers of light products require more product information related to energy value. Wageningen. “Light-labelling”. Marketing . the following classiﬁcation is made (Gosset. D.C. Tones. Vol. • no consumption: 0 point References Aaker.1 point. But. A. Agricultural Economic Studies. Liège. (1992). 4000 Liège. Prentice-Hall. Gosset. (1993). the research reported here indicates that a dramatic switch in product development and communication is required. Based on the results of the study.05) Demographic factors Number of children below 16 years of age Number of females per household Age of housewife Women with a job outside of the house [ 112 ] Estimated Standard Coefficient/ coefficient error standard error –0. is less appreciated by consumers today.95 . 3 The global consumption score per respondent for the light products considered is calculated as follows: • daily consumption of a light product: 1 point. 1992): • BMI < 18 = high deﬁcit in weight. V and Day. Several abuses of the “light” image have been Table VIII Signiﬁcant relationships between consumption of light products per household and demographic factors (p < 0. K.M. • minimum consumption of once a week: 0. Landbouw-Universiteit Wageningen. “Environement sociogéographique et état de santé subjectif de la population Liègeoise”.G. • a person for whom weight control is a preoccupation and at regular times a speciﬁc diet is followed. G. Oude Ophuis. John Wiley & Sons.31 + 0.5 point. • 20 ≤ BMI < 27 = normal weight. J. Research. Université de Liège. Wageningen.M.A. It can be concluded that the word “light” on the label or the packaging of a product is no longer a magic tool for selling that product. highlighted in the Belgian press.
which is a matter of attitude formation. Related to light products.M. R. it represents the importance of taste related to food in general and light products in particular.Jacques Viaene and Xavier Gellynck Consumer behaviour towards light products in Belgium British Food Journal 99/3  105–113 Triandis. M. Nebraska Symposium on Motivation. attitudes and interpersonal behavior”. This willingness to change behaviour in turn is determined by facilitating conditions. Food Acceptability. nutrition and health. in Howe. In terms of “light products”. Facilitating conditions also determine people’s habits. University of Reading. and Pangborn. H. sub-cultures and family A . Department of Food Science and Technology. (1980). [ 113 ] . University of Nebraska Press. Tuorila. salty and fatty foods”. medical and dietetic advice. habits concern the satisfaction of food intake patterns and whether or not one regularly eats at home.C.H. and the threat to health of obesity or being signiﬁcantly overweight. (1988).). 267-79. it consists of moral feelings that lead people to renounce light products. Demographic factors inﬂuence all ﬁve of the basic inﬂuencers. major role is played by the overall “picture” people have of food. H. Related to food. In the context of light products. in Thomson. NB. In the research under consideration. These ﬁve basic inﬂuencers determine willingness to change behaviour. emotions and moods. such topics as consumers’ deﬁnition of the word “light” and the rational objectives of consuming light products are involved. “Values. 4 Moral or ethical components deal with people’s personal way of life and the rules imposed on and by oneself. It refers to the exercise of personal control over the quantity of food consumed. “Behavioural models in the prediction of consumption of selected sweet. 5 Behavioural control components include the extent to which people experience difficulties in managing their personal behaviour. It refers to the ability of someone to maintain a proper weight. Lincoln. 2 Affective components represent people’s feelings. (Ed.).E. including reference groups. Reading. it refers to social inﬂuencers inciting people to try a product for the ﬁrst time. information sources and information processing. 3 Social components refer to the impact of the cultural environment and factors that inﬂuence social controls. and behaviour itself. Appendix. pp. (Ed. which refer to such environmental stimuli as product availability. D. as well as willingness to change behaviour through habits and facilitating conditions. Detail of the Triandis (1980) model The perceived threats to human health are classiﬁable into ﬁve inﬂuencers or components: 1 Cognitive components relate to consumer knowledge. persuasive information.M.
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