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Regular Articles

Vol. 24 No. 2 (2022)

Functional food consumption by Portuguese university community: Knowledge, barriers and motivators

January 28, 2022


This study aims to understand the attitudes, behaviors, and perceptions concerning the consumption of Functional Foods (FF) and to analyze the modulating role of some socio-demographic factors. Cross-sectional study recruited a random stratified sample from universities. A web-based questionnaire was applied and data were analyzed using SPSS and FACTOR software. A large percentage of the respondents consumes FF regularly, mainly in intermediate meals, despite their poor knowledge about FF. Taste, price, convenience, lack of knowledge on how much to consume, and uncertainty on how to prepare FF are barriers to consumption. Consumers feel the need to eat it, believe in its safety, and have more confidence in the products than those who do not consume them. Benefits are not a motivator for the consumption. Bachelors and women are those that consume more FF in a daily/weekly basis; although age and scientific area did not have impact on the frequency consumption. The findings help national and multinational food companies identify target market segments where introducing FF or increasing existing FF are most likely to succeed. These need to provide consumers with appropriate or relevant health claims, to help them make satisfactory food choices; such as, clear information on labelling, better online marketing strategies, and promotional activities.


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