A good feeling versus a healthy choice
Representative quantitative market research was done among 1200 consumers in order to find out how they perceive food items in relation to health. In other words: whether they perceive a product as being good or bad for their health. The results of this analysis are displayed in the ‘emotional value’ and ‘health value’ column. The numbers indicate how consumers perceive products and which emotional and health value they attach to it.
When we attach emotional value to food, it means that we value it in terms of the sentimental associations it has for us. It is all about the connotations of a food item. The ‘ultimate’ emotional value of a food item is usually strongly connected to its taste. However, it is not only about taste. Other aspects such as price, packaging, brand, and the total experience of a product all contribute to its overall emotional value. We are all biased about food products and those prejudices are decisive for the way in which we perceive a product. Our memories, emotions, ideology and personal beliefs all influence our opinion about food. If we perceive the price as being too high, this might be detrimental to the emotional value of a product.
The concept of health is a very broad one, as is our interpretation of it. When talking about healthy food, people usually consider the amount of nutrients and the contribution to a healthy weight as being decisive. In this research, we asked consumers how healthy or unhealthy they believe a particular food category is. The answers are based on the knowledge they have about that particular product in terms of its ingredients. In other words: does the product contain a lot of sugar, (saturated) fat, salt, calories, fibers, vitamins, minerals and artificial flavors, colors and preservatives?
Consumer choice is strongly influenced by marketing and advertising. Manufacturers take advantage of the fact that we are easily influenced by communicating clever claims that ‘manipulate’ us and make us believe that something is healthy, whether it is true or not …