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Unité de Recherche et d'Applications en Marketing

INSIGHT INTO TUNISIAN CONSUMERS’ MIND-SET TOWARD HEALTHINESS IN FOOD AND HEALTH-PROMOTING FOOD CHOICES


Abstract:

From the origin of humanity, the linkage between food and health has been undeniable among all cultures. However, understanding this linkage is a tedious task as people’s thinking about food and health is mainly shaped by mental representations which are created through the interaction between biological, sociological, psychological and cultural dimensions. This article aims to unravel this confusion by exploring unconscious thoughts and feelings that may influence consumers’ perceptions of healthiness in food and the way in which these thoughts are translated into healthy food choices. Indirect questioning was judged as the most suitable to access consumers’ mind-set. Three projective methods: association, metaphors and story completion were selected to shed light the research questions. Findings reveal that the majority of participants were aware of the importance of healthful food choice to reduce risk of disease or to promote health. However, positive attitudes toward healthy eating do not necessarily lead to healthy eating choices. Besides, results show that healthiness is perceived by intrinsic and extrinsic food cues, nutritional information and production methods in particular. Finally, various contradictory impressions emerged when presenting a set of pictures of different functional foods with different health claims as stimulus to participants.

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