Functional foods is a relatively new concept, which covers food products that are enriched with various kinds of (naturally occur-ring) components/substances (eg vitamins, minerals or probiotic cultures) or modified in a way so that the product provides an additional physio-lo-gical benefit that may prevent disease or promote health. As such, functional foods are a prod-uct cate-gory which can be characterised as processed with a relatively high degree of tech-nological manipulation compared to basic food products. Experience with functional foods that have been introduced so far indicates that some consumers seem to approve of such manipu-lations whereas others don't. One possible explanation is differ-ences in con-sumers' values, especially the values pertaining to the relationship between man and nature. The aim of the study presented in this paper is, by means of conjoint analysis, to study consumer acceptance of functional foods in Denmark, Finland and the United States and to investi-gate to which extent acceptance can be explained by consumer values. The three countries are selected due to differences in the importance attached to the value dimensions 'harmony' and 'mastery' (Schwartz, 1994), because these values are assumed to be especially important for the acceptance of technological manipulation of food products. People who score high on the 'mastery' dimension emphasize active mastery of the social and natural environment through self-assertion. This is comparable to the basic idea behind functional foods. Therefore we expect that a positive attitude towards functional foods is positively correlated with the 'mas-tery' dimension. The opposite value dimen-sion of 'mastery' is 'harmony', which emphasises harmony with nature and defer exploitation of people and natural resources. The 'har-mony' dimension is expected to be in conflict with the concept of functional foods.
Proceedings of the 7th Conference on Cross-cultural Consumer and Business Studies, 1999